Economic parables

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Economic parables are those stories told by Jesus in the New Testament which teach about work, income, the free-market, and self-sufficiency.


  • The parable of the sower in Mt 13:18-23 speaks of the return of investment in agriculture and evangelism.
  • The parable of the vineyard owner in Mt 20:1-16 teaches men to abide by the wages and agreements they have agreed to.

No penalization of wealth

  • In the parable of the talents, found in all the synoptic Gospels, the servants who are most productive are rewarded, regardless of how much was entrusted to them.

Lack of scarcity

  • the multiplication of the loaves in Matt 14:13-21
  • the master's estate in the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32
  • an excess of fish found by casting the net on the other side of the boat in John 21:6

Understood by Jesus' followers

In 2 Thess. 3:8-10, Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus worked for their bread rather than expecting charity, and give the self-sufficiency maxim "if any man won't work, he won't eat."

See also