Employer/Employee Parables

This entry is part 70 of 88 in the series Inquiring Minds
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Is there a parable for employers that don’t do as promised? For instance, would you give up your seat in the lifeboat for somebody else?

I don’t believe any of the parables in the Gospels speak directly to this situation. There are parables that speak of employer/employee relationships but there are none that specifically address a company or employer not doing as they promised.

One parable speaks about laborers in a vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). A master goes out and hires workers in the beginning of the day. The workers agreed to one denarius for the entire day’s labor. But throughout the day the master goes out to get more workers because there is more work to be done.

They do not necessarily agree to the same one denarius for a lesser amount of time to work. But at the end of the day, the master gives out the same amount of money to everyone no matter how much time they worked.

When the workers from the beginning of the day argue about their wage, he asks them if that is not the wage they agreed to for the whole day. He concludes that it is his right to give out whatever wage he wishes. This parable is better to the workers than the master. Workers who did not work for the whole day’s wage received the whole day’s wage.

Another parable that may be close to this is one where the master gives out a separate amount of talents to each of his workers (Matthew 25:14-30). He goes away for a while and lets them do whatever they wish with the talents, expecting that they will give him an increase upon his return.

One servant is given five talents, the second two talents, and the third one talent. When the master returns, the servant with five has doubled it to ten. The second servant has also doubled his amount from two to four.

But the third servant took his talent and buried it. The master is upset because he did not even try to put it in the bank and let it gain interest. He ends up giving the third servant’s talent to the one with ten.

While these parables do have to do with fairness, they do not directly address a company not doing what it promised for each employee. But these are the closest parables I can find that deal with fairness and the masters and servants are closely related to today’s employers and employees .

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