Monday, February 2, 2015

The parable of Mike Janes and Andrew Carnegie

We were talking about stocks, stockholders, corporations, etc. in history class while learning about Andrew Carnegie.  We talked how some people were upset about how he was able to give away millions of dollars to charities because he paid his factory workers too little.  Sarah was folding laundry during this discussion, and she started muttering about how small her allowance is and how her daddy is like Andrew Carnegie.  Noah chimed in about how much money Dad gives to the church while paying his child laborers a tiny penance.

I had just read Matthew 20 recently, so I told them this story:  Let's say there are a bunch of people looking for work.  A boss comes along and says he'll pay them $20 to work for him for the next 12 hours.  They agree, happy to have the work.  A few hours later, more people have gathered, looking for work. The boss makes the same deal with them, except now there are only 8 hours left in the workday.  They agree and start working.  At the eleventh hour, the boss sees more people who want to work, so he tells them he'll give them $20 to work for him for the rest of the day. They do. At the end of the day, the boss pays the last workers first and goes down the line, giving every worker $20.  The ones who worked for 12 hours were upset because they got paid the same as the ones who only worked an hour.  But didn't they agree to work all day for $20, and didn't the boss remain true to his end of the deal?  So why should it matter to them what anyone else gets?

Noah sputtered, "But that's not fair!  Where'd you get that stupid story?"

I said, "From the Holy Bible" and he said sheepishly, "Oh."

I told him Andrew Carnegie's story reminded me of the boss in the biblical story.  It was his money to give as he pleased, and the factory workers knew their wage when they were hired.  Same with Daddy and allowance.

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