“He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’ So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last” (Matthew 20:13-16, NLT).

English: Parable of the Workers in the Vineyar...

Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Codex aureus Epternacensis, fol. 76f, detail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For societies to run well, a system of law and punishment for breaking those laws must be in place. It’s normal and expected to pay the consequences although people do what they can to get away with anything and everything. On the flip side, we seem to have a problem when we perceive someone receives more benefits than we think they deserve. How fickle and childish we can be!

When the workers who arrived early to work in the vineyard saw the owner give the latecomers the same wage, they protested, saying it wasn’t fair they worked all day in the hot sun for the same amount as those who worked for only a short time. Our idea of fairness is most often me-centered, not other-centered, which is why his idea of fairness can seem so foreign to us. God is free to lavish his love and grace upon anyone he chooses. And who are we to protest? As undeserving recipients, we can only be thankful he isn’t like us.

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