Friday, March 20

From Scarcity to Abundance

Read Matthew 20

"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’"
- Matthew 20:8

Reflection: In this story, the workers who were called to work in the vineyard were all day laborers. This kind of work was pretty common back then. Have you ever seen people in the city, waiting to be picked up by people who might need help for odd jobs such as moving or some sort of labor requiring a lot of manpower?
Well, the picture of people waiting out in the market place to work in the vineyard is similar to this. You can imagine what the people must have felt as others were picked up but they weren't. It meant going home empty handed -- it meant going home to hungry children and spouse. Finally, at the very last hour of the work day, they are picked up to go and work in the vineyard. They would have been grateful just to receive the very minimum for their work because after all, they only worked for an hour. However, they all end up receiving the same amount as the ones who came to work early and different hours of the day! They all receive a living wage. A wage they can take home and have enough to feed their children -- a wage they can take home and have enough to buy clothes and pay the rent. Enough to live on, enough to dream on, enough to labor for, enough to provide for them and their family! Jesus believed not in the minimum wage, but a "living wage." Indeed in God's kingdom, there is no minimum wage -- only abundance. As we strive to live out God's kingdom and kingdom values, let us restore people's dignity and pay them enough for their labor so that they can lead lives of decency and abundance.

Excerpts from the IWJ Bible Study Guide

God of compassion, we pray for workers whose wages are so low that they face terrible choices between paying the rent and feeding their families. We pray that the courageous cries of workers for justice be heard by their employers.

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass


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