the story is that a bunch of workers were offered one denarius for working in the fields. some of them started at dawn, some of them started at around ten, others trailed in toward the end of the afternoon. then the landowner came out and paid everyone the same exact thing.
one read of the story is that life is not fair. okay. that’s basic.
second way to look at it is this: it’s the landowner’s right to do whatever he wants to with his or her own money. he/she doesn’t really care if you got up at the crack of dawn. someone else can come in at three-thirty and pick one grape. landowner pays them, too. shut up. it’s none of your business.
I wish I could get more familiar with the stories in the Bible without having to actually study it or listen to sermons. Sermons usually contain a piece of the scripture, but just a little sliver; then come the watered-down, shareware anecdotes that keep the congregation from falling asleep. There’s the “bible as literature” angle; I got as far as “The Book of Job.” We all know what it’s like to scrape out our boils with a potshard. And the Garden of Eden. We can talk about Eden without getting freaked out.
But the New Testament? Nope. The bible thumpers have made it too distasteful, which is ironic, since they long to spread the good word. Still. This little bit is from the book of Matthew. He was an apostle. That’s all I can comfortably tell you.