“But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man 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?’”
More than Fair
Some people might argue that God isn’t fair. He doesn’t punish quickly enough. He doesn’t punish severely enough. He even allows bad things to happen to good people. God’s fairness is also questioned when it comes to people entering heaven. It doesn’t seem fair that some people are excluded.
While I might be tempted to think God is unfair, I need to remember the truth which Jesus teaches. God is more than fair.
Jesus’ parable of the workers in the field (Matthew 20:1-16) reveals God’s goodness and his mercy. The landowner, who is the Lord, graciously calls many to come into his field. Some are there for a long time. Others are there only for a short time. At the final accounting, the Lord gives everyone what he promised. Unfortunately, the fairness and the generosity of the Lord is called into question.
The landowner’s response is critical: “Are you envious because I am generous?” The parable addressed the jealousy of the descendants of Abraham who assumed they deserved more from the Lord. The Lord’s answer gave them a completely different perspective, and it becomes a valuable lesson for me when I harbor doubts about the Lord’s fairness.
While I may be tempted to think I deserve more from the Lord, I need to start with what I actually deserve. I should be punished, rejected, and separated from God forever. My sin is the reason why God should have turned away from me. God’s love, however, brought about a different response. Through the sacrificial work of Jesus, as well as through the substitution of his righteousness for my lack thereof, I am saved. If God were fair, none of this would have happened. Instead, God would judge me and sentence me to eternal punishment.
Through his wonderful love the Lord leads me to rejoice in my rescue and the promise of heaven. It also leads me to rejoice that God offers the same rescue and promise of heaven to all people. He wants all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. This is more than fair. It is grace.
O gracious Lord, you have poured out your grace into my life. Bless me through the work of the Holy Spirit so that I acknowledge your love, rejoice in your love, and daily grow through your love. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.
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