Skip to main content

The Parable of the Vineyard Workers

By:  Scott

For a link to the scripture I'm referencing, follow this link!

I'll give you a second to read through it...

Did you click it?  Isn't that dog funny?  Okay, seriously, here's the real link to the scripture.

So this parable is famous mostly for it's last line of "The last shall be first and the first shall be last."

But this is a great parable, for more than just one line. It's also misused a lot because of that last line. 

People think "Oh, that's just Jesus telling us that the little guy will get ahead in heaven." Maybe, but that's not all that I think is important.

Whenever I read parables, I choose to look at the characters I feel are the most relatable. Take this parable. I look at the workers, and the soon-to-be workers. These are the guys I can relate to, so I try to understand them as people, not just characters. The landowner goes and hires some men throughout the day, each time promising them the same wage at the end of the day.

An interesting line in the parable is verse 7. When asked why they are standing around doing nothing, a group of men say simply, "Because no one has hired us."  See, if these guys had been hard at work in another field, they would have been unavailable for hire. Just as people who are distracted by career, or addiction, or personal glory cannot be "hired" by God. We must be available for hire.  And we must be willing to work.

And then I notice the fact that these workers seem only concerned about their wages in the end. I know Jesus was trying to get just one point across, but I'm surprised he never mentions that the men seem completely disinterested in what their work is contributing to. See I think the bigger issue in the Parable of the Vineyard Workers is not that the men want to be payed more for their work, it's that they seem to only care about the wages at the end of the day.

They work on a vineyard. They are a part of the process of making wine. The problem is, no single laborer in a vineyard gets to see the whole process from start to finish. The field workers toil on the vines, then there's the stompers, the sifters, the barrelers, the tasters, the bottlers, and finally the merchants. The only one who see's the master plan is the landowner. He carefully watches every step along the way. He knows every grape from seed to first sip. Imagine being the laborer; it's your first day in the field, you have never set foot on a vineyard before. How are you to understand the scope of the system you've just stepped into? All you're concerned with is getting payed after sweating all day long.

Now imagine being a worker who understands his critically important role, who understands that without him the vines will never grow, the grapes never stomped, the juice never gathered, the wine never fermented, the bottles never sold, the glasses never filled. If you understand why your work is vital, then the work is payment itself.  To go from standing around doing nothing to being a part of creating the most complex and carefully-crafted drink man can make... Well which would you rather do?

See I think the more important question to ask ourselves when we read this parable is not "How do I get my denarius?" We should be asking "Can I taste the wine?"

And to close, I leave you with one of my all-time favorite youtube classics.  I give you, "Grape Lady Falls"...


Popular posts from this blog

On Uniting Methodists: What Will We Compromise?

This past week, Lovers Lane played host to the Uniting Methodists Conference, a gathering of those in support of (or seeking to learn more about) the One Church Plan (OCP) as we approach what will hopefully be a historic General Conference in February 2019.  Certainly there will be many reactions posted by those of all theological persuasions, but I wanted to take a moment to offer an insight that became apparent to me in the last few days.

During the conference, we offered the ability for attendees, both in-person and online, to submit questions for our leaders to address at the conference.  I was one of the persons privy to those questions, and I found them to be enlightening.

The largest number of questions had to deal with the technical implementation of the OCP, as it was finally released to the public on Tuesday late-afternoon.  But next to the "nuts-and-bolts" questions, the second-most type of questions had to do with a common theme.  I would summarize them as essent…

On Uniting Methodists: The Authority of Scripture

I had the pleasure of being on the host team for the Uniting Methodists “Room for All” Conference held at Lovers Lane UMC in Dallas, TX just a few weeks ago in July.The pastors, staff, and lay members of LLUMC were incredibly thankful to be able to have such an inspiring and important event on our campus.Those who attended the conference would have seen the following words printed in large black letters on a wall in our Watson Hall:
Our Vision: To be one diverse community, passionately engaging the Bible, uplifting Jesus in worship and loving service, and challenging in love that which divides.We’re proud of that vision statement here at Lovers Lane, it sums up who we feel like God has called us to be as a community of faith, and we hope it inspires those who walk through our doors.
During the past few weeks, as tensions continue to rise with the release of the “One Church” Plan put forth by the Commission on a Way Forward and recommended by the Council of Bishops, I have noticed a comm…

General Conference 2019: A Beginner's Guide

With a special called General Conference coming around the corner in 2019, and knowing that onlookers (pastors, congregants, those outside the UMC) will be watching with varying degrees of knowledge around all it entails, I thought it might be helpful to write up a simple FAQ for those who are not experts in all things United Methodism. This will not be exhaustive and is meant only to give a basic framework for those who are interested in what is happening, but are not familiar with UM structure and jargon.

Note: Since I am not an expert on all of these topics, if at any point you are reading and think, "Scott, that is factually incorrect!" please let me know and I'll do my best to update this page to be as accurate as possible.

What is a General Conference? General Conference (GC) is a gathering every four years of between 600 - 1,000 delegates (clergy and laity, aka pastors and non-pastors) who vote on issues that effect the global denomination. This includes, among ot…