It’s Not Fair!
God, help me understand Your heart, which is always good and always for me, and to follow You with all that’s in me.
Read Matthew 20:1-16
 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.  He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.  “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.  He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’  So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.  About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’  “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’  “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’  “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius.  So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.  When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.  ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’  “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?  Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.  Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’  “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is your reaction to the story?
Children are quick to say “It’s not fair!” when they feel mistreated. This landowner seems to be playing fair with his laborers (2). He also seems very kind in employing more people throughout the day (3-6). However, as the story unfolds we’re left wondering how fair he is actually being (9,10). Why do the first workers hired feel that the landowner is being unfair (12)? How justified is their reaction?In this story the landowner is a picture of God, and the laborers are his people. God’s justice is pictured in the way the landowner pays those taken on early in the day (13,14), and his overwhelming, undeserved generosity is pictured in the way the landowner pays those taken on last (9,14,15). We don’t know whether Jesus was directing this parable at anyone in particular. He certainly hits the nail on the head with the landowner’s question (15). He exposed the attitudes that many people had: the longer you served God and the better your life, the greater your reward should be. The point is clear: while God deals with everyone with justice, he also pours out his love with a generosity far greater than anyone can deserve.
Consider God’s justice and generosity in your own life. Thank him for both.
Lord, I could never begin to truly appreciate the whole of Your grace, but let me grow deeper in understanding it.