Parable on Money

These parables are based on the Zurich Bible, which goes back to Huldrych Zwingli and his circle of translators. Beginning in 1524, various editions of the continuous translation appeared, finally culminating in 1531 with the printing of the German Folio Bible, the so-called Froschauer Bible. In the following centuries, too, the Zurich translation was revised again and again. Because of its sober, clear language and its closeness to the original text, it became a classic.


Parables are short narratives that convey a philosophical lesson. They have been used for centuries to package complex concepts and moral dilemmas into simple, easily understandable stories. Here, we will explore various parables that deal with the topic of money.

One of the most well-known parables about money is "Entrusting Money." This story is about a wealthy man who entrusts a certain amount of money to three of his servants. The first servant invests the money and earns back 100 times the original amount. The second servant earns back 50 times the original amount. The third servant buries the money and returns it to the wealthy man unchanged. The wealthy man praises the first two servants but criticizes the third servant for his inactivity.

This parable illustrates that it is not enough to simply possess money. Rather, it is important to use money wisely and make the most out of the given opportunity. At the same time, the story also shows that those who handle their money successfully will be rewarded.

Text: Zurich Bible

Video production: MoneyMuseum Zurich

7 Parable videos

Matthew 25: The parable of the Talents

  • This is a biblical parable in which a master entrusts money to his servants before departing on a journey. One servant invests the money successfully and receives praise and a reward upon the master's return. Another servant also makes a profit, but not as much as the first, and also receives a reward. The third servant, however, hides the money out of fear of losing it and is punished for it. 
  • The moral of the story is: "For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."


Matthew 20: The parable of the laborers in the vineyard

  • A landlord sent workers to his vineyard to work for a denarius a day. Throughout the day, he sent more workers at different times. At the end of the day, all workers received the same daily wage, regardless of how many hours they had worked. The workers who had worked all day complained. 

    The landlord, however, pointed out that they had agreed on the wage beforehand and he had the right to be generous. Is he really right?


Markus 14: A parable of price versus value

  • This parable describes the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his subsequent trial and crucifixion. A woman came with an alabaster jar of expensive perfume, broke it, and poured it over Jesus' head. Some of those present were outraged that the expensive oil was being wasted and could have been sold to give money to the poor. Jesus defended the woman and said that she had done a beautiful thing for him.

    Jesus emphasizes the importance of not criticizing the actions of others without understanding their motivations. That is also true in money matters.


Markus 12: The parable of Offering

  • Jesus watched as people donated money to the treasury. Many rich people donated a lot, but a poor widow who had only two lepta gave all she had. Jesus said that she had given more than anyone else because she had given everything she had out of her poverty. So, the poor widow made a greater sacrifice out of her poverty than the rich did out of their abundance.

    We can ask ourselves whether we are truly willing to sacrifice a portion of our own wealth to help others, or whether we are more focused on our own abundance.


Markus 10: The parable of the rich man

  • A man asked Jesus how he could attain eternal life, and Jesus replied that he should know the Ten Commandments. The man said he had followed them, but Jesus said that he should sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, which the man refused to do. Jesus then said that it is difficult for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.

    This statement is meant to illustrate that it can be difficult to let go of worldly wealth. But giving up possessions and status symbols can indeed play an important role in managing money and happiness.


Lukas 12: The parable of the rich fool

  • The significance of this biblical story is that Jesus is pointing out that the pursuit of wealth and selfish actions should not be the most important things in life. Death can come at any time, and the material wealth we have accumulated in life will not help us then. Instead, we should focus on values such as love, compassion, and generosity. 
  • Hoarding in itself is not a sin, but greed and holding onto material goods at the expense of others is a sin.


Lukas 08: A parable of investing

  • The Parable of the Sower describes how people deal,  for example, with financial changes. Some will reject the new and hold onto old habits and old ways of thinking, while others will accept the new but not be able to implement it. However, there will be those who are able to recognize the new opportunities and use them to enrich their financial lives.

Text for Matthew 25: The parable of the Talents

A man prepared to go on a long journey. He summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.” His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!” The man with the two talents also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.” His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!” Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.

” Those who have will be given more, and will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

Text for Matthew 20: The parable of the laborers in the vineyard

Early one morning, a landowner went to the marketplace and hired laborers to work in his vineyard for one denarius per day. Several more times throughout the long, hot day, he saw men standing idly in the marketplace and he hired them to work in his vineyard, all for the same pay. He even hired some laborers in the final hour of the day to work in his vineyard. When evening came, the landowner said to his foreman, "Call the workers together and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first." When the men who had worked the whole day saw that they were paid no more than those who were hired later, they protested: “After all,” they said, “we have worked the whole day in the scorching heat!" The landowner replied, "Friend, I have done you no wrong. Didn't you agree with me to work for a denarius? Take what is yours, and be on your way. It is my choice to give to the last workers just as much as I give to the first. May I not do as I wish with what is mine? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

Text for Markus 14: A parable of price versus value

While he was in Bethany, visiting the home of Simon, a woman came to the house with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were indignant, saying, “What a thoughtless waste. This expensive perfume could have been sold for more than a three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor!” They rebuked the woman harshly. Then Jesus spoke: “Leave her alone. Why are you shouting at her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”

Text for Markus 12: The parable of Offering

Jesus sat across from the place where the offerings were made and watched the crowd give their money to the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “This poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Text for Markus 10: The parable of the rich man

A rich man asked Jesus, “What must I do to live forever?“ Jesus asked him if he knew the Ten Commandments. The man answered, “I have followed them all my life.“ Jesus looked at him fondly and said, “You still lack one thing. Sell your possessions and give the money to the poor. Follow me and you will find treasure in heaven.” This troubled the man, because he was very wealthy.

Jesus then said, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. “

Text for Lukas 12: The parable of the rich fool

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Master, tell my brother to divide his inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you two?”

And he told them this parable: “The land of a certain rich man produced a bountiful harvest. The rich man thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' 

Text for Lukas 08: A parable of investing

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he planted, some seeds fell on the path and were trampled upon, and some were eaten by birds. Some seeds fell upon the rocks, and when they sprouted, the plants withered because they had no water. Still other seeds fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. And some seeds fell on good soil and yielded a crop a hundred times more than was sown.

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