“It isn’t fair!” A young child stamps her foot and pouts. Why does she have to go to bed while her older siblings get to stay up later?
“It isn’t fair!” Why should my taxes help subsidise some layabout who has no intention of ever seeking a job?
“It isn’t fair!” Hear the older son sulking to his father outside the celebrations to welcome home his prodigal brother. “I’ve never put a foot wrong! Where’s my party?”
“It isn’t fair!” Why should the dying thief’s “deathbed conversion” allow him to share eternity in paradise with the Apostle Paul, who gave his life serving God and his kingdom?
Life isn’t fair. Jesus told a story once that illustrates this: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.” (Read the full story in Matthew 20:1-16)
The landowner continued to hire workers at different times throughout the day. At the end of the day, he paid them all the same wage, regardless of the hours they worked; and he paid first those who were hired last! “It isn’t fair!” those who worked the longest protested. And we’re not surprised they were upset – even though the landowner paid them their agreed wage. The landowner was adamant. It was his money, and his right to be generous if he so desired.
Paul tells us, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:23. And we know that gift is offered to each of us freely because Jesus intervened and took upon himself the death sentence you and I deserved. It wasn’t fair! It isn’t fair. But I’ll happily forego my ‘wages’ and take our generous God’s free gift instead. Every time. With the deepest gratitude.
PRAYER: Father we thank you for your grace and generosity. Forgive us our “entitlements!” Accept our grateful thanks for all you’ve done and continue to do for us. Thank you for the cross and the salvation you gained for us there, at such a terrible cost. Help us to reflect your generosity of spirit to those we meet, regardless of their circumstances; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who makes all of this possible. Amen
SONG: The Old Rugged Cross by Alan Jackson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JS9P8d2iOc)