Why The Gospel Is Not Like Economics – by Eliezer Gonzalez

Apr 30, 2015 1571

pricingIt is a fundamental principal of economics that there is an essential relationship between labour and wages: if you add more value by working more hours or by doing higher-level work, you should be paid more. Not only do we recognise that as fair in society, but also we are the first to complain when this principle isn’t applied to us!

But Jesus Christ taught that the Kingdom of Heaven operates on totally different principles to those to which we are accustomed. In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1–16) he told the story of the owner of a vineyard who went to the marketplace early in the morning and contracted some workers. He agreed to pay them a denarius if they would work for him for the day.

At around 9 am he went again to the marketplace and contracted more labourers. He did the same thing at 3 pm and at 5 pm.

At 6 pm he told his foreman to call the workers together and give them their pay. He started with the ones who had been hired at 5 pm and who had only worked for an hour. To them he gave 1 denarius. All the other workers were shocked. But they were even more shocked when it was their turn to be paid, and they all got exactly the same – one denarius – even those who had been working hard in the hot sun for the entire day!

They sent a union delegation to the owner of the vineyard to complain about this. And he said to them, “ It’s my money. I can do whatever I want with it, can’t I? Are you complaining because I am generous? ” (v.15 – my paraphrase.)

Far too many people think of the gospel in economic or political terms. But as Jesus taught in this story, it’s not like economics at all.

The righteousness of God has absolutely nothing to do with works. Grace is not given to us on the basis of how long or how well we’ve served God.

At the cross, Jesus Christ contracted for you to be in the Kingdom of God. You weren’t a party to that agreement. It happened before you were born. But you do need to accept it today.

If you’ve said yes to Jesus, whether you ended up a smidgin sanctified or so holy that little children shush when you walk into church, it doesn’t matter. The rewards will be the same, because in the Kingdom of Heaven, we are all equal.

It’s all due to the generosity of God, and not to our merits.

In other words, it’s all of grace – not economics.

– Eliezer Gonzalez

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