“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
We love the generosity of God. He blesses us with good things day after day. He chooses to love us despite our sinfulness. He allows us to catch glimpses of his glory and fills us with hope for an eternity in his wonderful presence. God treats us better than we deserve, and we love that about God. Generosity is a facet of God’s amazing grace about which we joyfully sing. Except when God shows generosity to someone else. We don’t sing quite so joyfully when God offers grace to someone we think doesn’t deserve it. Why would God be kind to a mean person? Or to someone who lies, cheats and steals? It isn’t fair that God would be generous to someone who doesn’t work very hard or doesn’t treat people nicely or doesn’t pray as often as we do. We love the generosity of God, except when it’s offered to someone else.
The workers in Jesus’ parable weren’t treated fairly by the vineyard owner. He paid them each the same wage, even though some had only worked part of the day. Maybe the vineyard owner has a right to do what he wants with his own money, but it’s still not fair, especially to the workers who labored hard all day long. They worked more, so they should be paid more, right? Of course, Jesus’ parable is not about economics or fair employment practices. He isn’t trying to teach business owners how to treat their employees. No, Jesus is teaching us about God’s grace. And God’s grace isn’t fair. In fact, that’s exactly what makes it grace. God loves us more than we deserve. He generously gives good things to sinners like us, not because we have worked hard for it or because we are such good people who deserve to be blessed, but simply because He loves to love us.
Grace isn’t fair, and as recipients of God’s amazing grace, we have no right to demand that He withhold grace from someone else, someone who is just as undeserving of God’s love as we are. Be grateful for how generous God has been to you. Rejoice in the grace you have received. And when God generously blesses someone else, rejoice that He has enough love to share with the whole world.
Father in heaven, You are generous and kind. You love me far more than I deserve. Help me to rejoice when You show love to others and to remember how much You love me, through Jesus my Savior. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian