It’s once again time for Bible Study and today’s lesson is the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard and why Christians must vote for Bernie. You didn’t know that, did you? Well, my friends, hang onto your Bibles!
In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, a landowner goes in the early morning to hire some day laborers who he agrees to pay one denarius to work in his vineyard. A few hours later he goes back and hires more laborers telling them he will pay them what is right. The landowner does this three more times during the day.
When it comes time to pay the workers, he asks his foreman to pay the ones who were hired last to be paid first and has the foreman pay those who had only worked one hour to be paid one denarius. As each man comes forward, they too are paid one denarius regardless of how long they worked.
The people who had worked the entire day for the same one denarius were not at all happy believing they deserved more. The landowner replies:
Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?
Sounds pretty Bernie-esque to me!
Of course, I’m not the first to notice this. The Washington Examiner had an article titled No, Jesus was not a socialist that said:
Likewise, in Jesus’s Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, the story upholds capitalist virtues, not socialist ones. When some workers complain that others were paid more, the employer rightfully defends the right of voluntary contract, private property, and, in effect, the law of supply and demand.
Jesus was talking to first century Jews and how people of the period heard the parable would be considerably different to how we might interpret them today. Capitalism wasn’t “a thing” back then nor was Socialism for that matter.
Was Jesus talking about the economic needs of the people and how the wealthy and the more fortunately can help those less fortunate? Perhaps and certainly this parable has been quoted as partial justification for a “living wage” and that the landowner has ensured that everyone who worked for him has enough to feed their family that night.
What the parable doesn’t tell us is whether the landowner actually needed the workers or not. In our modern lingo, a labor shortage fits the parable just as well. The landowner had to keep looking for people to do the work that needed to get done that day. Perhaps by the time the day was coming to an end, he was more than willing to pay a full day’s wage for one hours work or face the possibility that ripe grapes would go to waste. Perhaps the parable has more to do with paying what is necessary to complete the task where the task might have to do with delivering the word of God. After all, the Bible often talks about Israel as a vineyard and while it may not be fair, the care and tending of the vineyard by the people is what’s important.
Or was Jesus talking about something different altogether? A common interpretation is that the vineyard is heaven and all will be saved regardless of when they find God. Another common interpretation is that while Jews will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, so will the Gentiles.
And then there’s this one: “There was a great President who wanted all to work. In the morning, he created the USMCA that created jobs for many people. He cut taxes, reduced regulations, brought automobile jobs back from Mexico, returned steel jobs from China, and supported clean coal. Some who had not benefited at the start of his term grumbled about how unfair this was to which he replied “this is just the beginning!”