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It’s Not Fair

The Kingdom of God is not fair because when Jesus died the death we deserve and gave us life that we don’t deserve – it wasn’t fair, but it was Gospel.

Growing up with a younger brother I’m sure my parents heard their share of the phrase, “That’s not fair.” From the number of chores assigned, to the price tag of a birthday gift, or the number of gifts received at Christmas, one of us was always muttering (and in some cases, whining) “That’s not fair.”

Fairness isn’t only something that is debated between siblings, we hear it all the time in the world today. From politics to school, sports teams, and jobs – nothing seems to be fair. And don’t mistake that this is only a recent problem in human history. No, from the very beginning of creation we see this problem of fairness rearing its ugly head.

Take a look at the story of two brothers, Cain and Abel, in Genesis 4:

“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering, he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.”

It’s not fair.

And we know how the rest of the story goes. Out of his anger and jealousy, Cain killed his brother.

Now, this issue of fairness really sets the stage for our text. Let’s take a look at Matthew 20:1-16.

This is the story of a landowner and the workers in his vineyard. This man hired workers all throughout the day to work his land, and at the end of the day, when it came time to pay the workers their wages, there was mumbling of our common phrase, “That’s not fair.” You see, some of the hired hands worked for many hours that day and some others worked only a few, yet they were all paid the same wage.

Instead of being thankful for the generosity of the landowner, the workers were upset that the owner paid them the same amount for not the same amount of work accomplished.

It’s not fair.

Jesus told this story, as he did many parables, to reveal a greater truth about the Kingdom of God. You see, in the Kingdom of God, there is no “fair.”

Here’s what I mean – God created a wonderful world full of goodness, He created us good, God gave us choice and with that, we chose to do it our own way and thus sin entered the world. Ever since the beginning, we have been a mess and tried to fix all that is broken. However, God in His goodness and knowing that we would never fix it on our own, sent Jesus to save us and restore us.

It’s not fair.

I think we have a problem with the word fair. If you’re like me, when you hear the word fair you think equal. Sure, the work done by the hired hands in the man’s vineyard was not equal – it was different amounts of time worked. But it was fair, wasn’t it? The men worked and so they got paid.

The Kingdom of God is not fair because when Jesus died the death we deserve and gave us life that we don’t deserve – it wasn’t fair, but it was Gospel. It was a generous outpouring of mercy on those (me and you) who didn’t and still don’t deserve such a gift.

Do you see the connection?

The generous landowner did not do what was fair or equal, but he did do what was good for those that worked – both those that had worked a long while and those that worked a short time.

This week, watch your thoughts and actions. Are you longing to live in a fair world or a world that reveals the generosity of the Gospel? I challenge you this week to pray and ask God to give you one person you can be generous towards and serve.

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