The Parable of the Contractors

Not long ago we began a renovation project in our house. We decided to be our own contractors and to hire people to do particular tasks. We would do some of the work ourselves in order to save money. parable

Two years after beginning a bathroom remodeling, it is still a work in progress.

Six years after beginning a decking project, it is still a work in progress.

Have we saved money? Yes. Have we wasted time, energy, and other resources? Probably.  Obviously the work is not finished. But then again, God isn’t finished with me yet either. parable

A certain foreman contracted to hire workers to perform a series of tasks. He left with each contractor a book containing the overview of the tasks to be performed and said, “I am going away. If any of you need anything, give me a call and I will help you.” Then the foreman left.

The contractors began working according to the instructions given to them by the foreman. Soon, however, disagreements arose over just exactly what was meant by certain passages in the instruction manual. The contractors quarreled angrily, each attempting to convince the others that his interpretation was correct. Unable to reach an agreement, each contractor began to work according to his own interpretation of the book. Some of the contractors even called the foreman as he had instructed them. One said, “My wife is sick, I must tend to her.” Another said, “My children need new clothes, may I have an advance on my salary?” But none asked for his advice on the tasks at hand.

Seeing that each contractor proceeded in his own way, a competitor of the foreman sent his own contractors in amonst the other contractors to sabotage the work. Since the contractors were not at all in contact with the foreman, they were unable to discern those who were sent to destroy. parable

When the foreman returned and saw each man working in his own way and that the tasks he had set for them were not complete, he was angry. “What is this which you have done? I did not command you to perform any of this! You have allowed my competitor to deceive you! You have allowed his workers to influence your work. I was not here in your presence, but I was always available. I left you my cell phone number; you should have called me at every moment for intructions. I was ready to answer instantly, twenty-four hours-a-day. But you tried to accomplish these things in your own wisdom with your own strength.” The foremen then called security and had his competitor’s men forcefully ejected from the premises and his own men he immediately fired. parable

The Parable of the Contractors by Davin Dahlgren, May 1996

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