What’s your idea of fairness? Matthew 20:1-16 teaches us that our personal concept of fairness may not always be in agreement with Gods. This parable goes a long way toward opening our eyes to the heart of a God who is much more than fair.
In first century Israel there was so much to do whether planting, cultivating, or harvesting the vineyards. It was hard physical labor working in the heat of summer. And so the owner of one vineyard went out very early in the day to hire workers. At 6:00 in the morning he hired laborers for a whole denarius, a Roman soldiers pay for a day. At intervals throughout the day three more groups of laborers were hired all for the same pay. They were grateful for their work until this climatic moment. What! Is it fair to give all the same amount? “Those fellows worked only one hour and yet you’ve paid them just as much as those of us who worked all day in the scorching heat.” Matthew 20:11, 12 TLB
Do we have the right to dictate how the landowner pays his workers? Wasn’t his decision to pay the same an act of mercy? Our demand of fairness from God reveals more about us than we would like. Could this be exposing attitudes of selfish ambition and pride? “The world’s definition of fairness is based on the sliding scale of society’s values and the changing will of the majority. But God doesn’t buy that definition. That’s why He will never be ‘fair’ from society’s perspective. His values are higher, far exalted above yours. His timetable is different… that’s why I praise you for being just, not fair.” Joni Earekson Tada
As believers in Christ we must put aside a competitive spirit and think like Jesus. In Jesus’ day people often felt superior because of their heritage or faithful obedience to the law. But salvation, God’s great act of mercy, is not an elite privilege for a few but a worldwide invitation to all. As we struggle in a world that often lacks attitudes of mercy and justice we can remember Jesus gives us something far greater than fairness. He lived the sum total of mercy and justice. This is the wonderful grace of Jesus.
Wonderful Grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free;
O the Wonderful Grace of Jesus reaches me!
Run, not walk, to your nearest Bible. Through the Word of God we find authentic Christianity is His wonderful words of life. However, today believers seem confused and unsettled about their beliefs. The world around us has been too convincing and we have become too compromising. Proverbs 19:27 exhorts us to get back on track. “Stop listening to teaching that contradicts what you know is right.” God has equipped each person including the non-believer to turn to Him through their conscience. One definition of truth is simply that which God has planted within each person, the knowledge of right and wrong. When a person violates what is morally right they turn from the truth giver. We should not be surprised that God declares His ways are truth. All he does is just and good, and all his laws are right, for they are formed from truth and goodness, and stand firm forever.” Ps 111:7, 8 Truth is God’s perfect blend of His character and justice.
As we embrace God’s words they become our very identity. We seek to obey them with loyalty and faithfulness. This is the essence of Christianity. So we find ourselves in a relationship with the God of the Universe through obedience. This enables us to live a Christian life that is both a challenge and pleasure. “Keep me from every wrong; help me, undeserving as I am, to obey your laws, for I have chosen to do right.” Ps 119:30 “And when we obey him, every path He guides us on is fragrant with his loving-kindness and His truth.” Ps 25:10
Friends, we are accountable for knowing right from wrong. Accountable for doing what is right. One person said it this way. “To hear truth and not accept it does not nullify Truth.” It will continue to stand the test of time. When our lives have ended and we stand before our Creator, the God of all will pass judgement using the enduring standards we must live by today. “For the Lord is coming to judge the earth; he will judge the nations fairly and with truth.” Ps 96:13 It is simple yet profound that God’s stamp upon our life is moral conscience. Dear Christian, the choice is in our hands. Will we continue to damage God’s beautiful creation by rejecting the work of our conscience or will we acknowledge that we are an amazing work of God created to live for Him?
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