That Doesn't Seem Fair

Matthew 20:1-16

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”
Have you ever said the phrase “this doesn’t seem fair” in your life? Like something happened to you directly or someone you know or even just in general and you found yourself muttering the words “this just isn’t fair?” That’s kind of what we get with this parable. Could you image the feeling of the other workers who worked so hard ask day, only to find themselves being paid the same as the ones who hardly worked? Can you imagine the frustration and anger present as the payment is being handed out? Now think about it this way-have you ever experienced this in your walk with Jesus?

This parable speaks of the unconditional love of Jesus. It speaks to the reality of where we stand in the Kingdom—all sinners in need of grace. The love, mercy, and grace present at the cross has nothing to do with who has worked the hardest, put in the most time praying and reading Scripture, or spent the most time volunteering at Church. While those are good and necessary in our relationship with Christ, this parable teaches that none of us are deserving of the love and compassion of Jesus, regardless of good works we have or haven't done. This doesn’t mean we wait for the right time to come to know Jesus, it doesn’t mean we get to live free and easy, and it doesn’t mean we aren’t held accountable for how we live. It does mean, however, we all stand in the same place at the foot of the cross. The sooner we can learn this the more effective we will be in making disciples. God is for everyone through Jesus. It is the plan of the whole Gospel message. The love of Jesus is come as you are and experience the loving grace and forgiveness of Christ because of the cross. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in Church your whole life or never stepped foot inside a Church building. The love of Christ is free for all who come to know the loving Savior who took it upon Himself to set us free.

Reflect

  1. How does this change the way you view the love of Jesus? 
  2. Write 2 things you could do in order to change your perspective on what you deem fair or not. 

Pray

Father, I come knowing and at times I make judgment on things that I deem fair or not. As I seek you leadership and guidance daily make me aware of the true love, the unconditional love you offer to each and every one of us no matter where we think we stand. Allow me to see people the way you do, not the with my human eyes but with the eyes of love, compassion, mercy, and grace because we understand that in the Kingdom of Heaven we are all on the same playing field. Amen. 

Nick and Heather Viers, April 3, 2020
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