When Life is Not Fair
“Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” So the last will be first, and the first last.
– Matthew 20:15-16
Each of us can attest to a time when we were not treated fairly. We may have been overlooked for a promotion or a raise in our work. Or we were not chosen on a sports team in school when we worked extra hard to get in. Or someone in our family responded badly to us when it was unmerited or undeserved. Yes, each of us has said, “It’s not fair” at least once in our lives.
Jesus shares a parable where the workers said, “It’s not fair.” The story is found in Matthew 20:1-16. A man who owned a vineyard went out early in the morning to look for workers. He found some and agreed to give them a denarius for their day’s work. During Roman rule, a soldier received about a denarius for a day’s work, so that seemed quite fair to the workers. The vineyard owner went out at 9:00 am, noon, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Each time he went out, he found more workers and offered to give them “what is right” and they agreed. After the workday was over, the foremen called all the workers to get paid. He started with the ones that came at 5:00 and gave each one of them a denarius. The ones who came early were super excited because they thought, “If he’s paying the ones that came at 5:00 pm a denarius, how much more is he going to pay us??” They were deeply disappointed when the foreman gave the ones who worked all day the same amount as the ones who worked only for one hour. Naturally, they grumbled and said, “Hey, that’s not fair!”
The response of the master was astonishing! He told them that he had agreed to give them a denarius and they accepted. He didn’t treat them unfairly. He gave them exactly what they agreed on. He chose to be generous and benevolent to the ones that came later. He paid the ones that worked for one hour, not based on their work but based on his grace and generosity.
This parable teaches us something very valuable. The Kingdom of God is really not fair. Think about it. We sinned, but God’s Son died on the cross for us. We were enemies with God and He is the One who reached out and reconciled us to Himself. We gave God our unrighteousness and He gave us His righteousness. We were poor and He allowed us to be heirs in the Kingdom of God. If anyone needs to scream, “It’s not fair,” in this transaction, it should be God, not us!
So the next time we see a situation that is “not fair” towards us, maybe we can handle it with a little more benevolence or grace. When we are overlooked for a job, a promotion, or a raise or when we are repaid ugly for our kindness or treated unfairly, remember these three things.
- Extend God’s benevolence and generosity to those around us.
- Remain faithful to work hard, love people anyway, and forgive when we are maligned or mistreated.
- Trust God to right your wrong in His timing and in His way.
Read: Matthew 20: 1-16
Pray: Lord, help me to be generous in extending love, kindness, and forgiveness. Help me to be faithful to do what is right and trust You for the outcome. Lord, thank You that You are my Rewarder and my Reward no matter what happens around me. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen!
Women’s Ministry Director
First Baptist Broken Arrow