The Parable of The Workers in Matthew 20: 1-16 is a powerful representation of a truth which we all often forget, which is that God’s ways are not our ways. Much of our suffering and sin is caused by the delusion of thinking that God will judge and reward each of us according to the dictates and standards of this world. We each imagine that, if we receive praise, honors, and awards in this world, we will likewise shine in eternal life. However, what we each better realize sooner, better than later, is that this world’s rewards have very little, if anything, to do with eternal salvation. In fact, so twisted is this world and society that, in many cases, that which brings us much acclaim in this world is precisely that which will bring us much regret and suffering in eternity. Being considered a shrewd money maker or ladies man, for example, may well come as the result of manipulating, using, and harming others for our own selfish gain. Every day we see famous celebrities acting in immoral ways or mocking faith and tradition. Surely these people have “made it” according to the dictates of this world yet, if we think about it, their eternal success is much more up in the air if not in danger.
Briefly stated, this parable tells of a man who goes out and secures the labor of various workers at various points in the day and then, to the surprise, shock, and anger of those he hired first, pays all of the workers an equal amount. Many people have joked that any employer doing this today would be sued, beaten, or murdered. Sadly, that terrible end may very well be true, if we were dealing in human terms. However, we are dealing with God Almighty, Who Alone is All Wise, All Merciful, All Generous, and All deserving of our love, faith, loyalty, praise and service. God’s ways are not ours, regardless of our insolent, selfish, and twisted expectations that He should bend to our way of doing things rather than the other way around.
This parable tells us that we cannot and should not expect to be favored over others for any reason, even those reasons that seem fair to us. Praying daily and being a saint is no guarantee that we will enter Heaven before criminals and prostitutes, because God Alone is the Judge of whether, when, how, or why we enter Heaven. We are each expected to serve others in love, and that is the only reason that we should ever look toward others. Not to compare ourselves in insolence, feel superior in arrogance, or feel resentment or jealousy in inferiority, but to serve as best we can with no personal or selfish motive. Beyond seeing others for this mission of service, we must each look only above to our God, for we must constantly see Him as the ultimate target of our efforts and praise. In the end, remembering, as this blog reminds us, to see God Alone as our purpose, is what matters. The only fairness that matters comes not from our dictates or measures, but from the most Just and Merciful God that we are blessed to serve.
Copyright 2011 Gabriel Garnica