Posted by: owizblog | October 2, 2013

Thought For The Day BBC Radio Scotland 1 October 2013 What Work Is Worth, What Pay Is For

I love the ferry trip from Bute to the adjacent island most of you live on. Disembarking, I often pause on the gangway, and contemplate, behind me, the vast wall of the ferry’s side, in front, the big walkway on the pier. Where am I? There I stand, the water beneath my feet, on neither the ferry nor the land. In the gap.
 
Christian faith is about living in a gap. Jesus’own prayer mentions this gap: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” There’s a gap between things as they are and things as they should be.
 
Amid clichés like “tough love” and denunciations of “something for nothing,” proposed swingeing changes to unemployment benefit are in the news.  Jesus tells the story of a man hiring workers – buying their labour. He starts first thing in the morning, but needs more workers, and comes back an hour later, and again after that. He’s still hiring with only an hour of the working day left, and when the wages are given out, those who only worked that last hour get a full day’s pay.
 
“Aha!” say those who worked all day. “Nice bonus for us!” But no, they too get the rate for a day’s work. A denarius, the New Testament calls it. And here’s the thing about the denarius. It’s a day’s pay, because it’s what a family needs to live on for one day. Bring home less than that, your family goes short. The all-day workers grumble, but the employer says “You got what you worked for, and they got what they needed to live on. Why be jealous because I am kind?”
 
Politics is a debate about the gap between what our society is, and what it should be. But what shapes our vision of that? For me, it’s my faith, which you may well not share, and the values of this Kingdom Jesus talks about.
 
Can’t we share this, though? Shouldn’t ours be a society that can accept whatever each one can contribute, even if it’s nothing economic, and offer each their dignity acknowledged,  and needs fully met? And if it’s not, isn’t that a gap we should all be contemplating? 
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