Stuck in the Weeds (Part 2)

by C.C. Owens

“Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?”

~Matthew 20:15 (NLT)

Today’s money story is based on the Parable of the Workers found in Matthew 20:1-16.

Last month, our story began as Jacob worked for one afternoon on Mrs. Denman’s flowerbeds. Another boy, Bobby, started working later, but they both got paid the same – fifteen dollars. When Jacob questioned Mrs. Denman about their wages, she said she wanted to be generous to Bobby…

All that night and the next day during school, Jacob thought about Bobby getting fifteen dollars. It just wasn’t right, and it really made him mad. Finally, Jacob decided today would be different because he was going to show up late. Bobby would do all the work and Jacob would get the same reward.

When Jacob arrived at Mrs. Denman’s, Bobby had already cleared two flowerbeds and was almost finished with a third. Mrs. Denman waived to Jacob as he walked to a bed.

It wasn’t long before the sun was setting, and Mrs. Denman came to see them. “You’ve done enough for today boys.”

Jacob walked over to collect his pay. He’d barely finished one bed, but he’d done as much as Bobby had yesterday. Well, almost.

“Bobby, you finished four beds. Great job! At this rate, we’ll be done in another day or two. Here’s your twenty dollars.” Bobby ran toward his home waiving the bill high in the air.

“Jacob,” said Mrs. Denman, “you finished one bed today. Thank you. Here’s your five dollars.”

Jacob stared at the bill and wanted to rip it to shreds. “You’re not fair. You gave Bobby the same as me yesterday, and today you’re only paying me five dollars.”

“Didn’t we discuss this yesterday, Jacob?”

“We did, and what you said didn’t make sense.”

“I see,” said Mrs. Denman. She folded her arms and looked Jacob straight in the eyes. “When Bobby saw you working yesterday, he asked if I could use more help. He would have been here when you started had he known there was work to do. Since he didn’t know, I was generous to him.”

Jacob didn’t like where this was going, but Mrs. Denman continued. “Today, Bobby worked all afternoon, and you did not—by choice. Should I really pay you two the same because you chose to come late, and he didn’t?”

Jacob stared at his shoes as he mumbled his reply. “No, Mrs. Denman.”

“You still earned five dollars today, Jacob. Do you want it?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Jacob tucked the money in his shorts pocket and climbed on his bike. He could go home and not come back tomorrow, but what would that get him? He called out to Mrs. Denman, “I’ll be here on time tomorrow.”

“Good, Jacob. I look forward to seeing you.”


What do you think about Mrs. Denman, now?

What do you think about Jacob’s decision? What would you have done?

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