Strangely, when it comes time to make payment, the owner calls the latest arrivals first and begins by paying them the standard rate – not for an hour’s work, but for 12 hours work. Of course, those who had worked longer therefore expected that they would receive a more generous rate of pay – instead they only get what they agreed to in the first place. No matter how much the owner protests that he is not being unfair – he is paying what they had agreed to work for – the parable goes against our deeply ingrained sense of fairness and justice – a sense that even the youngest of children are able to know. To demonstrate this, just try setting unequal portions of icecream before a group of children, or cakes that are different sizes!
So how do we make sense of this parable?
Recorded at SJV, 8.30am (9’29”)