Receiving a Daily Wage: Hiring Laborers for the Vinyard
The Daily Wage and the Free Gift of Grace
Much can be said about this parable in Matthew 20:1-16, but here are some thoughts: the daily wage cannot be about equality, because money does not have the power to make us equal or unequal. We have to take the dollar signs out of our eyes! Our being is the issue when equality is concerned and more being is not necessarily the outcome of having more money. Just take one look at some poor rich folk! They can be long on cash and short on humanity.
We receive more being from God and we can grow and mature in the stature of Christ when we receive the upbringing of our Heavenly Father. We need a living wage, that is, we need to have enough to cover our basic needs. More capital can also be a need, of course, if we want to open a business in order to hire workers to give them a living wage. But the tendency of human beings to always want more seems to be the target of the Landowner, in this case God. When a person has one billion, they want two; and if they have two, they want three, etc. What can make a person satisfied? They agreed on the daily wage, but then the laborers want more. That is the human drive this parable clashes with.
The parable makes the Johnnie-come-lately-s equal to those who have labored the whole live-long day. They receive equally in what they earn, but not in terms of grace, which is a free gift to all who believe in Christ. That free gift is salvation without works, as much a gift for those who come late as for those who have been there all along. Everyone who accepts the invitation to work in the vineyard has the promise of all kinds of adventure here in this life and eternal life in the world to come.