"God and Work in My Vineyard" (Matt 21:28). Work in the Parables of the Synoptic Gospels


Abstract

Parables occupy a significant place in Jesus’ prophesizing and teachings about the Kingdom of God. One of their characteristic traits, as a literary genre, are references to Jesus’ and His listeners’ daily lives. The article presents the analysis of the synoptic parables focused on human work. The material has been divided into two major parts. The first one analyzes the occupations referred to in the parables and the type of work they involve. The second one reflects on the elements of labor law, in particular the employment contracts and related remuneration. The analyzed parables constitute a unique kaleidoscope of occupations existing in the society of the time. Among them, of particular prominence are those connected with land cultivation and farming, such as farmer, sower, harvester, gardener, vineyard keeper and shepherd. Moreover, Jesus’ parables include other occupations such as fisherman, manager, judge, merchant, and banker. Jesus also refers to jobs and tasks such as : guarding and opening the doors (doorkeeper), preparing a feast, waiting tables, taking care of the house, making bread dough, tower building, playing dance music at weddings, wailing and lamenting at funerals. Drawing on Jesus’ parables, one can also notice a wide range of different categories of people who performed particular jobs and tasks. A reference is made to a field owner, vineyard owner, house owner, manager who on behalf of the host administers goods, lease holders, hired and seasonal workers and servants (slaves). The parables also show us the ways of providing reward for work. Servants often performed their duties in exchange for accommodation and food; lease holders in exchange for profit sharing, whereas hired and seasonal workers in exchange for a fixed remuneration. Should the Bible be seen as a specific album presenting photographs of working people, then Jesus’ parables are undoubtedly of particular interest.

Keywords

Work; parables; occupations; farmer; shepherd; remuneration; contract; lease


Published : 2014-06-01


Podeszwa, P. (2014). "God and Work in My Vineyard" (Matt 21:28). Work in the Parables of the Synoptic Gospels. Verbum Vitae, 25, 105-126. https://doi.org/10.31743/vv.1567

Paweł Podeszwa  naporus@gmail.com




Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

(1) Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC license Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. 

(2) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

(3) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).