Parable of the Generous Employer // The Parables of Jesus

In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus tells a parable describing what the Kingdom of God is like. Often times, the "Kingdom of God," or the "Kingdom of Heaven," comes across as a lofty and abstract idea to modern-day readers. This is because we rarely use the word "kingdom" any longer in everyday language. Add on top of that the idea of talking about a heavenly kingdom, it can make this phrase seem less real than any earthly kingdom we think of. Despite our misconceptions of it, the Kingdom of God is, in fact, a real kingdom where there is real citizenship; and, as we see in Matthew 20, God's Kingdom openly challenges our present world in ways that tend to make us uncomfortable. "The Parable of the Generous Employer" is a story describing how the economy of grace works. The economy of grace confronts the ideals we carry around of what is fair, what is right, and what we think we deserve based on our efforts. In his book What's So Amazing About Grace?, Philip Yancey says, "Grace cannot be reduced to generally accepted accounting principles. In the bottom-line realm of ungrace, some workers deserve more than others; in the realm of grace the word deserve does not even apply." That is one reason why this parable in Matthew 20 forces us to decide whether we want to be citizens in God's Kingdom, or if we actually prefer to keep our citizenship in the kingdoms of this world.