That’s not fair is a universal statement and sentiment. We are laboring under the idea that everything is to be fair, and it must be fair all of the time. You and I possess a keen sense of fairness. This sense of justice is especially real if we sense we are the ones not receiving as much as someone else.
There is a story that Jesus tells in Matthew 20:1-16 which seems odd and a little off to our 21st-century sensibilities. The parable is about workers in a vineyard. There were some day workers, and the owner of the vineyard agreed to pay them a denarius for their days’ labor. The laborers were ecstatic about the offer. Off they went to put in a full days labor. The owner also went back to the place where he engaged his first workers. He notices people were standing around. He offers them work. He hired more people at noon, three and five P.M. When the day was over; they got in line to receive their pay. The boss decided to form the line starting with the last hired and, at the end of the line were the ones hired first. To the surprise of all the ones who had worked all day, the late arrivals received a denarius. Imagine if you were one of the ones who had worked all day, you must be thinking: “they worked such a short time and received that much just think how much I am going to get for working all day!” It was now their time to receive their compensation: one denarius. What? Are you going to give us the same as you gave the last ones to show up? How is that fair? The owner answers “didn’t I give you what I promised I would give you?” Well yes, you did. Here is the landowner’s complete answer from verses 13-15: “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 “Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
I remember preaching from this passage years ago, and a lady approached me after the service and said, “that is about the most unfair thing I have ever heard. It is an outrage that someone would be treated in that manner. How could that parable be representative of God?” What would you have answered?
Here is my application of this passage:
God is God, not me or you. I do not know all that God knows. I do know that He loves and cares about all of us. When things do not seem fair in life, and there have been several times when I felt that things were not fair. It is at that point that I trust Him. He is God.
Why are we jealous and angry when God is generous? Instead of fuming, it would seem that awe and gratitude would be more fitting.
Our focus should not be on what others are receiving but rather remembering His generosity to us in the form of His grace.
Everything belongs to God. You and I are not very appreciative when someone tells us what we should do with our ‘stuff’. I must learn to trust Him and know that since God has been kind, gracious, and generous to me, He will do the same in the lives of others.
One reason contentment could be in such short supply in our world is that rather than counting our blessings, we are comparing ourselves to others, and we feel we have not been treated fairly. Contentment comes from a heart filled with gratitude at the generosity and grace that God has bestowed in your life.
Whenever you think someone is getting more than you, just remember you are blessed and that God loves and cares for you.!