Are you envious because I am generous?

Any salary received for the work done for the job, we always tend to compare ourselves with others. While pay inequality is illegal in many countries, the situation is very common in several countries esp., in middle-east where different workers with different nationalities are paid differently for the same work that requires the same skill set. Jesus taught in one of His parables how to be satisfied with what we agreed to receive.

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Paid Unfairly?

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

Matt 20:8-15

Workers who came in the beginning who worked all day long are paid equal to those who worked only the last hour. This seems unfair to us. But Jesus teaches us an important lesson in this parable.

  • All the workers agreed to work for a denarius to the owner of the vineyard. Hence, it is not unfair for the owner to give what the workers agreed as payment.
  • The owner of the vineyard has the right to do whatever he wants with his own money. Hence, workers who worked more but for the same pay as workers who worked less must not be envious for the owner being generous.


Christian workers must never compare their payments for the job with others and be envious if others get more. Rather they must negotiate with their employers and agree on the salary they require for the job. Even if the employer is not generous to others, we must always be content with what we agreed to receive for the work.

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