Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”
In Matthew, Chapter 20, Jesus tells his followers the parable, “Laborers in the Vineyards”. If you haven’t read it or are not familiar with it go and read it now. I’ll wait.
Ok, here’s a recap if you decided not to read it.
The story is about a master of a house, so we assume he’s a wealthy man with land and a vineyard and has his own business. One day he needs employees and so he goes out early in the morning and finds people willing to work for one denarius for the day. The denarius was the standard silver coin of the Roman Empire at that time. So I guess we can assume it was a decent day’s pay. The first employees he hired in the early morning agreed to this wage and went to work.
Every so many hours after hiring a group of people, the master would find more people without work for the day and hire them at the same rate. Some workers worked a 12 hour day, some worked 10, some 6 and some only 3. But when the day was over and they all lined up to get paid, they all received the agreed upon wage of one denarius.
When those who worked the 12 hour day realized that those who worked less hours were getting the same pay, they became disgruntled and complained.
The master tells them, you chose to be the first. You agreed to work all day for one denarius. You could have said no and held out for more, but YOU made that decision, not me.
And that is what is said in verse 14:
Take what belongs to you and go.
Own up to your decision. Do not place your actions on me. The decision to work all day for one denarius belongs to you not me.
Then the master says:
I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.
The master is saying that is his decision.
Christ prefaced this parable by saying at the beginning of Chapter 20:
For the Kingdom of Heaven is like…..
The Kingdom of Heaven is for all and it is not for man to judge who should or should not receive it. To pass such judgement is based on covetousness.
Many want to tell others what to do with their lives and their possessions. Many feel short changed when others have more, and this is why the master asks the workers in verse 15:
Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’
What we have worked for and what we have been given is ours to deal with. What others have is theirs. It is not right to judge who should have what or who should get more and who should get less. To think, say, or do otherwise is not social justice and it’s not moral justice. That thinking has nothing to do with justice or fairness or any other subjective man made idea. It is pure covetousness and the gateway to sin.
Follow the words of Christ in Matthew 20:14, the first sentence says it all.
Take what belongs to you and go.
Do no covet and scheme for more, no matter what kind of moral high ground or altruistic rationale you use to defend your covetousness.
So the last will be first, and the first last.
The law of balance will always prevail.
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