How many times have you heard from your children these words “Not Fair!”
My guess is you are thinking to yourself – I would be rich if I got paid every time I heard that statement uttered by my children.
As I child, I was often guilty of uttering this phrase when I didn’t get my way, when I wanted to stay up late past my bedtime, when I didn’t want to eat what was on my dinner plate, when my brother got something I wanted, etc.
It didn’t end as I got older. As a youth, I was guilty of uttering this phrase when I wanted a later curfew, when I wanted to go with my friends to an event and my parents said “no,” when I got grounded for not obeying, etc. I am an adult now and I still utter this phrase. When my jealousies and insecurities take over, when envy rears its head, when I compare myself to others that phrase “Not Fair” is uttered by me. I’m sure it has been uttered often by us throughout the trying times we have been in for some time now – COVID, racial injustice, school choices, and the multitude of other decisions we have been facing.
It raises the question – what is fair? Who determines what is fair in my world and the world around me? When trials and tribulations come, when jealousy and envy appear, do we often ask is God fair?
The Gospel lesson this week is the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. Jesus tells this parable to share with us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like and to make us aware that God is a loving and generous God. We often miss this point when exploring this parable. This parable shares how the landowner of a vineyard hires workers to work for him and he tells them he will pay them a denarius for the work done. A fair wage for a day’s work. However, throughout the parable we hear how the landowner goes to the vineyard throughout the day to check the progress and each time he comes there are more people there wanting to work. He hires workers each time he is there including late in the day. When they finish at the end of the day, the landowner begins to pay the workers starting with those who were hired last and he pays them a denarius. The other workers standing in line see this and think they will receive more since they worked longer and harder. When they are paid by the landowner, they are also given a denarius.
As you can imagine, they begin to grumble and complain. I’m sure the landowner probably heard the words “Not Fair!”
The landowner then shares with them what he has paid them is fair, it is what they agreed upon, it is his money, and he can do with it as he wishes. He explains to them he wants to give everyone the same amount and then asks the question – “Are you envious of my generosity?” Jesus ends the parable with this line – “The last will be first, and the first last.”
It seems so unfair. We agree with the workers of the vineyard. In fact, we often get so focused on the debate of whether this situation is fair or unfair, that we miss the entire meaning of the parable. Jesus is talking about what the Kingdom of God is like and He wants us to realize the Kingdom of Heaven is not about fairness but rather it is all about GRACE. The grace of God that surpasses all understanding. The grace that comes because God loves everyone not matter who they are, where they come from, or what their circumstances are. The grace of God that does not want to be separated from us by sin, but rather saves us from sin.
God loves us so much that through His generosity and grace, He sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus pays the ultimate price on the cross so we will no longer be separated from God by sin, by the punishment of death. Rather, he pays for the sins of the whole world by giving His life so we can live! It is by this grace that we are saved and receive the FREE gift of Eternal Life. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. God’s grace is freely given to all who believe in Him and in return we are given the free gift of life with Him forever.
There is no greater love than this, no gift more amazing! We know God’s love for us and our hearts should be filled with joy. A joy that overflows into our lives and into the lives of others. A joy that leads us to love God above all else, to love others as ourselves, to place others before ourselves and to humbly serve others through our words and actions.
We can be happy with what God has given us, we can stop comparing ourselves to others, we can stop being jealous over what God has given to others, we can let go and place our faith, hope, and trust in a God so generous He gives us the free gift of Eternal Life. Life with Him forever in Heaven. God’s grace and love is exceedingly fair. Let us give thanks to God for His grace and mercy. Then, let us go forth and live our lives with joy remembering all God has done for us.
We continue to pray for you daily and are always available to talk and support you in any way we are able. We are here to encourage, equip, and guide you as you are the “Light of Christ” for your children, family, friends, and neighbors. We provide some ideas/tips/resources to help you lead by faith with your family through the weekly email, on the private Children’s Ministry Facebook page and on Trinity’s Facebook page and website. Please feel free to contact me any time if I can serve you or your family in any way.