It is about grace, Not Fairness
“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’” Matthew 20:15
A handful of laborers have been working in the landowner’s vineyard; some of them have worked all day, some of them half the day, and some of them only an hour. But when the time comes to pay the laborers, the playing field is levelled, and everyone gets paid equally; one denarius for twelve hours, one denarius for one hour. It seems so unfair, doesn’t it?
Hard-working, “good” people have always asked: what kind of God would offer the same reward to those who have earned it, and those who have not? And this is quite nearly the question the disciples have asked Jesus prior to the telling of this parable. The disciples thought that because they were among Jesus’ closest followers, they would receive special benefits in God’s kingdom. They want to know what reward they will receive for dropping everything to follow Jesus. They want to know who will be greatest in the kingdom. This parable is one of Jesus’ many answers to that question. And we know that this was a difficult answer for Jesus’ followers to swallow because it went against the accepted standard — more work means more pay. But God’s kingdom stands in contrast to the values of the world. No one receives special favour because they are a closer friend to Jesus or because they have been following Jesus longer. This parable makes clear that there is a radical equality before God. And as Christ’s followers, we are called to model that radical equality of God’s kingdom.
Are we so very gracious? If we are really being honest with ourselves, what thoughts cross our minds when a convicted murderer suddenly professes Christ as his Lord and Savior. When we see druggies or molesters, do we offer them an invitation to come and meet Christ, to work for God, or do we look down our nose at them and assume that they are too low for the kingdom of God. I think we tend to be more like those grumbling workers who had been in the fields all day than the landowner who continually goes out into the marketplace inviting more and more laborers to come and work in his fields. No matter the person. No matter their history. No matter where one comes from. Jesus is saying, “It’s not too late for you or anyone else! There is more than enough room in God’s purposes for everyone!” God makes no distinction, and we shouldn’t either.
So let’s celebrate God’s radical inclusivity today. Let’s celebrate God’s grace! God’s grace is a free gift that is available to all of us. It is a free gift for all to receive even though none of us is deserving. It is about mercy, not fairness. And, it is for the last as well as the first. The field is level. Are we going to stingily hoard God’s grace for ourselves, thinking we have a “leg up,” or are we going to go celebrate the many blessings of God’s mercy for all people? This world needs God’s grace, so let’s share it!
Question to Ponder:
Are we extending grace to others that we received from God?
Have a Blessed Week that you would extend grace in inviting people to be part of His Kingdom!!