Parable layers

I don’t think I’m ever going to fully understand any of Jesus’ parables.  This morning I was reading from Seeking God’s Face (a wonderful time with God gift in my life this year) and came across a bible reading from Romans 2…  about judgmentalism. 

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”  Romans 2:1-4, TNIV

As I was reading the passage the Parable of the Labourers was running through my mind (the one where the generous master pays the slothful one-hour-workers the same wage that he pays the hardworking full-day-workers).  The hard-working lot are incredulous of course (condemning themselves) – this part of the parable I’ve gottenbefore – but I don’t think I’ve ever fully understood what the potential reaction of the one-hour-workers might have been.  A different kind of incredulity would have come over them of course, the kind you feel when you’re the recipient of a winfall, a unearned grace.  But I’d never considered repentance as another possible part of their response. 

Verse 4 from Romans made me think it for the first time.  Surely unmerited grace does lead to repentance.  “I’m not worth this… this is too much… I don’t deserve this!”  And maybe the one-hour-worker’s hearts were changed as a result; now they really knew who their Master was…  even as, you hope, the full-day-worker’s hearts were changed.  The riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience leading both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to repentance.