Is God Fair?
How would you feel? He works for one hour. You work for eight. You do the same job, but at the end of the day, you both get paid the exact same amount. Would you cry foul? Would you feel robbed? Would you have the right to be angry? Then you can identify with the reaction of the men in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.
In Matt. 20:1-16, Jesus tells the story of different groups of men who are hired at different times of the day to work in a vineyard. Some start at 6 a.m., others at 9, some at 12 noon. One group starts as late at 5 p.m., working only one hour. The last are paid first and they get paid the equivalent of a full day’s pay. The first group, seeing how much the employer gave to those who worked only one hour, “supposed they would receive more.” But they also receive the same amount–a full day’s pay. They are shocked and visibly upset.
And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying , These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. (Matt. 20:11-12)
Was the landowner wrong? Was their anger justified? Listen to his response!
But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good ? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. (Matt. 20:13-16)
Notice, the first group received what they “agreed” to work for with the landowner. They had insisted upon a legal contract with him and got one. It was a law-based relationship that obligated both parties to perform their duties and required the landowner to pay an established wage according to a formal contract.
But this was not the case for the others.
And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive .
What is the point of the Parable? The landowner represents God. The first group represents those who relate to God legalistically and who want to earn their blessings. The others represent those under grace, who do not insist on a legal contract, but who choose to trust God’s goodness instead. They are willing to leave it to Him to give them “what is right” for them, not based upon what they do, but based upon who He is.
Those under law cannot receive anything more than they can earn. But those under grace shall always be blessed with far more than they deserve. In fact, God blesses them regardless of their performance in a manner that is way out of proportion to their performance. They get a full day’s “reward” for an hour’s worth of work.
Child of God, God is not into “fairness;” He’s into grace. He does not pay wages. He dispenses gifts. When we trust Him to give us “what is right” for us, based on His love and grace, and stop trying ourselves to earn our reward, “what is right” from God’s perspective will always be much more than we need, far beyond what we can even imagine or think.
Leave it to God to bless you and reward you. He will never bless you with less than you deserve, but He reserves the right to give you far more than you deserve; to bless you without measure! He is not fair. He is far more than fair. And that, my friend, is why I love Him so!