Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Matthew Chapter 20
Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 20:1-16
20:1For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. 20:2And when he had agreed with the laborers for a shilling a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 20:3And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle; 20:4and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 20:5Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 20:6And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 20:7They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard. 20:8And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 20:9And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a shilling. 20:10And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a shilling. 20:11And when they received it, they murmured against the householder, 20:12saying, These last have spent but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat. 20:13But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a shilling? 20:14Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee. 20:15Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good? 20:16So the last shall be first, and the first last.
MARCH 7, 1965: Matt. 20:1-16
WEEKLY UNITY - All for the Kingdom
Unity explains this week's International BIBLE LESSON
What does the vineyard in the parable for today represent, and who is the "householder" or owner? The vineyard represents the kingdom of heaven or spiritual consciousness, and the householder is the Son of man, or divine-idea man, in expression.
Who are the workers in the vineyard? Every individual who is willing to make the effort to enter into spiritual consciousness.
What is the wage that all alike receive? The wage or reward is eternal life. Since it is infinite, all receive the same amount; that is, all of life that they can assimilate and express.
Does the attainment of eternal life require long study and practice of Truth? Not necessarily. The realization of eternal life comes to the individual when he has completed preparation for it ("when even was come"). The attainment of eternal life is determined by the diligence, devotion, obedience, and selfless service to the divine law that the individual gives, not by the number of years that he studies and practices Truth.
Does everyone have an equal opportunity to attain eternal life? Yes. Everyone who wishes to grow in spiritual consciousness and thus attain eternal life must be willing to abide by the laws that govern such growth and attainment. If one person seems handicapped physically or mentally in comparison with another, he must remember that in Spirit there is no handicap and that all have the same opportunity to reach their spiritual goal.
Is it lawful for us always to do what we will with our own? As long as our will is in harmony with divine will, so that we wish to do only what is just and right, or as long as we observe the divine law in every respect, it is lawful for us to do what we will with our own. Otherwise it is better for us to give our possessions to the poor than to have them be such a handicap to our efforts that we cannot administer them with equity and justice.
Metaphysically, what is each one's vineyard? Each one's vineyard is his consciousness, and his faculties are the workers in it. Each one calls faith, wisdom, enthusiasm, imagination, love, judgment, and all other faculties to his aid in developing and expressing his consciousness of life.
I am willing that Thy will be done in my earth as it is done in heaven.
Undated: Matt. 20:1-6
Unity interprets a living BIBLE LESSON
HOW to CONQUER JEALOUSY
Prepared by Mary Mae Oesch
Just before telling the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, Jesus had been questioned by Peter as to what rewards the apostles could expect from living a spiritual life. Jesus assured His helpers that they would be richly rewarded. Then He puzzled them by stating that many of the last would be first and many of the first would be last. The parable explains His statement.
Jesus related the story of the owner of a large vineyard. When the crop was ready to be harvested, the farmer hired workmen early in the morning. The men agreed to work for a denarius a day. Not enough workers were available, and later the farmer hired more as he could. At progressively later hours, additional help was hired.
At the end of the day, all the workers were paid the same wages; and those who started to work first, objected angrily. Why should the latecomers be paid as much as they who had labored longer?
The farmer reminded the first workers of their agreement; and said they should not object to his keeping to this agreement.
The lesson in Jesus' parable is subtle, and may entirely elude one who judges only by worldly standards. We need to remember that divine compensation is neither comparative nor limited. Such compensation is adequate for every need, and justice is always present in spiritual rewards.
In Jesus' day—when there were no clocks, no such thing as hourly wages, and when even a day's wages amounted to a mere pittance—employers sometimes followed the policy described in the parable. This often caused dissension. But if we feel that the owner of the vineyard was unfair, we need to consider what the parable was intended to teach.
The vineyard represents the kingdom of heaven, the realm of conscious oneness with God. The owner of the vineyard symbolizes our Christ self working in the realm of divine ideas.
God, as infinite Principle, is no respecter of persons and gives to all alike. Neither can Divine Mind be subject to the limitation of time. There is a bountiful harvest of Truth ideas ready for us, the workers, to gather. How long or how hard we work is an individual matter between us and God. Our spiritual reward comes through devotion to the good and cannot be measured in material terms. Each of us receives his "denarius," which represents all that he needs in the way of supply.
Some of us grasp Truth principles quickly and apply them more faithfully than do others. Some (those who labored all day) may accept Truth ideas more slowly and take longer to use them effectively. But each receives from God that for which he agrees to work; that is, God provides all the blessings that our understanding and devotion allow us to accept and use rightly.
Jesus' parable touched upon an age-old "sore spot" in human relations, one that is still very much alive today. Many well-meaning persons, who keep God's laws in other ways, feel justified in harboring jealousy. Yet this destructive emotion takes a ruthless toll.
How, then, can we avoid or overcome jealousy? We can: Rejoice whenever the sum total of the world's manifest good is increased. Give thanks for our own blessings and appreciate them. Know that God in His infinite love has provided plenty of good for us and for everyone. Pray to know and express more of God's love and understanding.
Remember that, in a sense every single one of us is an "eleventh hour" worker, since the gifts of God's love are so great that we could never actually earn them. The gifts of life, love, joy, power, and wisdom are ours because God loves us and because we have opened our minds and hearts to receive them.
What did Jesus' parable of the laborers in the vineyard teach? That God is no respecter of persons, and gives to all who give themselves wholeheartedly to the living of Truth ideas.
How is jealousy harmful? Jealousy causes misery, warps one's perspective, can affect one's health adversely, motivates unworthy actions, and destroys friendly relations with others.
How can we overcome jealousy? By rejoicing in the love and generosity of God; by appreciating our own blessings; by remembering that God provides richly for all.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-19-2013