Recall a time when something struck you as unjust or unfair. What did you do about it?

  1. Confronted the “perpetrator” and demanded satisfaction
  2. Shook my head, walked away and stewed on it
  3. Told a higher-up – it wasn’t my place to get into it directly
  4. Chalked it up to “that’s life.”
  5. Other __________.



Of the four Gospel authors, Matthew seems to be most attuned to the tension between earthly laws and societal structure. Even those who follow Jesus closely, and watch him perform one miracle after another, still pepper him with questions about how he can possibly reconcile the coming kingdom with their earthly concerns, including fairness. This parable builds on the perceived value of work to show God’s love has no price, or no way to earn merit, but is freely granted to all.


God’s Story

Have one person read Matthew 20: 1-16 straight through, as Jesus telling the parable. Have the reader get into the persona of each of the main characters – the landowner, the disgruntled workers – to emphasize the tension inherent in this scenario.

Finding My Story in God’s Story

Put yourself in the landowner’s sandals for a second. What’s your first thought when hiring the “morning shift”?

  1. These are real go-getters.
  2. I see enough men right here to get the job done.
  3. If there are slackers, I’ll just cut them loose early.
  4. I hope some of them want to sign on long-term.
  5. Other __________.


What about the guys you hire toward the end of the day?

  1. Why hasn’t someone else put them to work?
  2. I’m feeling extra generous today.
  3. The other guys will be happy to have help.
  4. I’ll bet the early workers won’t be happy about this situation.
  5. Other __________.


What’s the gist of the landowner’s response to the grumbling gig worker?

  1. A deal’s a deal, everyone got what was promised.
  2. Don’t pout or put yourself above the other guys.
  3. I’ve always put everyone on equal footing.
  4. I can be as generous as I want, to any and all workers.
  5. Other __________.


What is Jesus saying about the value of money?

  1. It’s an earthly tool, nothing more.
  2. It’s not about what you make, but how you treat people.
  3. Keeping score isn’t a good idea.
  4. All are equal in God’s eyes.
  5. Other __________.


How does this parable change your attitude about work?

  1. What I do doesn’t define who I am.
  2. We’re not in competition for God’s favor.
  3. Doesn’t change it – I’ve got a healthy relationship with money.
  4. I have new appreciation for the blessings of work.
  5. Other __________.


By comparison to the guys in this parable, how would you assess your own work life?

  1. I’m finding rewards of work beyond the paycheck.
  2. My longevity or seniority has yet to pay off, time for a raise.
  3. What, me work? I’ve put in my time, I’m outta here.
  4. I’m getting more than I deserve, so it’s time to pay it forward.
  5. Other __________.


Our Story

What does this passage inspire you to change or work on?

  1. Stop being so competitive, especially in …
  2. Show more gratitude for what I have, including …
  3. I will strive to “pay it forward,” whatever “it” is.
  4. Be more generous in helping others get on board.
  5. Other __________.


What specifics or next steps come to mind, as you act on that inspiration?


How can we support you in prayer in taking those next steps in your work ethic?