Matthew 20:1-2 Jesus on Welfare

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

//I think nearly all of us agree the welfare system in America needs some patchwork. It’s easy to abuse, and consequently it frequently is. So what would Jesus do?

In this parable, told by Jesus, a householder is presented as a role model for the wealthy. Early in the morning he hires laborers for a denarius a day, which is the standard daily wage.

He goes out again the third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour, hiring more laborers.

And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

Now here’s the question of the day. What is the “right” amount to pay the laborers?

The householder decides to pay them all exactly the same. Each receives one penny (denarius), one day’s wages. Some worked eleven hours longer and received exactly the same wage. Is this fair?

One wonders how much the householder really needs laborers. He seems rather to be in the business of finding people in need and providing for that need, asking of them what they are capable of providing.

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