That’s So Unfair

While God is just, He is not fair.

Matthew 20:1-16

Reference: v.15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ (TNIV Bible)

Explore: My parents were the fairest guardians you could ever imagine.

My eldest sister had to wait until she was thirteen years old to get her ears pierced. So my other sister and I also had to wait until we were teenagers even though ALL our friends were getting their ears pierced at much younger ages.

If ever Mum and Dad gave a sum of money to us, the other two got the same amount so that we were all given the same gift.

Mum always made sure we had the same amount of presents under the tree each Christmas and we were each given the same amount of crackling every time we had roast pork.

Their aim was that we would all know that we were equal and loved all the same. And it was greatly appreciated by us all.

Application: When I see the benefits of being treated equally in a family I found it surprising to discover that God is not fair.

The parable in Matthew 20 talks about an employee giving out wages and we see that God represents this man. However, I initially struggled to see that God would be unfair, when I can see the issues that it could bring.

When I was chatting to a friend about this they reminded me that I have benefitted greatly from God’s unfairness.

If God was fair then I would never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven for I don’t deserve it. If God was fair then I would never be able to receive His grace as nothing I could do could justify myself to Him.

While God is just, He is not fair. Because He is unfair means that I can receive the greatest gift of all – His unconditional love.

Prayer: Lord, there are times when I feel hard done by and think that the world is against me. Help me to see your will at work and know that You are always there for me. Amen.

When have you been treated unfairly? How did it make you feel?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.

1 comment:

E.J.May 24, 2012 at 12:37 AMReply

thank you for writing this blog. I challenge you to think of this passage in its entire context. Take into consideration who Jesus is telling this parable too. Go back to chapter 19 and think of the wealthy young man and his response to what Jesus told him he needed to do in order to be “perfect”. The audience that Jesus is speaking to is comprised of not only his disciples, but wealthy people, poor people, Pharisees, teachers of the law, Jews and Gentiles. So when he says to them in verse 16 of Matthew 20 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” what he is saying is just as important to whom he is saying it too.

Your comparative of your sisters and the money that you got being equal is great, because money is one of the world’s most commonly used tools of validation. We (worldly people) measure our lives and our success by what we are worth from a financial stand point. The term 3rd world country comes to mind. But God has done things his own way and will continue to do things in his own way because he’s God and he can.

Take into consideration what Jesus is saying in this parable from the Jews perspective. Jesus uses the illustration that there are 4 waves of labors that work for the land owner. The workers that showed up at 5 am would be Adam and Eve and all those that lived at that time including Noah. God made covenants with them, but there still was sin in them but God still was with them. The second wave of labors that showed up at 9am would be like the Israelites. Those that were lead out of Egypt by Moses and were told the laws and had the 10 commandments to guide them through life. The 3rd wave of labors were a representation of the House of David and down through Isaiah. They were given power and lead for many years when they held on to the word of God. And finally, the 4th wave of labors are representatives of Jesus and his disciples. They are now not subjected to being just Jews, now gentiles have the capability to enter into the fold of God through following Jesus.

Now for the Jews, that would be a bitter pill to swallow because they feel entitled to have more than any “wave” of followers because they were there first. But Jesus says “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”