I remember saying it as a child and I occasionally say it as an adult!
I hear it from children all the time.
It is a common mantra.
There is something that rises up inside of us when we see something that is not fair and certainly when we experience it.
Enter Matthew 20:1-15.
1-2 “God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.
3-5 “Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.
5-6 “He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’
7 “They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’
“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.
8 “When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’
9-12 “Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’
13-15 “He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’
Does that story resonate with you?
Are you the all day laborer or the last minute laborer?
There is something in us that wants fairness and justice - but there is a deeper need for grace.
Jesus knows that what we think we need and what we truly need are often not the same thing.
God's kingdom is like . . .
I picture the day laborer who had waited and waited all day to be hired. His head is low as he pictures returning home one more day with nothing to show for it. His shoulders sag as he thinks of disappointing his family yet again. Oh, the JOY of being chosen at the last hour to work at the estate.
Oh the JOY of being chosen.
He works for an hour and then lines up to be paid. He isn't expecting much, after all, he only worked for an hour. He steps up to receive his wages and he is paid for a whole day!
Even a small amount of money would have been a gift, but a whole day's wage was such a surprise.
Oh my -- so undeserved -- so generous --so unexpected.
I understand those that were upset, but I am bowled over by this man.
He is me - He is you.
Jesus isn't fair.
He is gracious and graciousness is so much more than fair.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Thank God that Jesus isn't fair.