“That’s not fair!” My three children bellowed unanimously.
I gritted my teeth in frustration because I was so tired of hearing what’s not fair. So I devised what I thought was a clever discipline/teaching tool to help those ungrateful rascals of mine. I sat at the kitchen table and began writing a list of things that are truly not fair. It took up an entire page of notebook paper. Things like, being born blind, going to bed hungry, etc.
After I finished the list, I had my children take turns reading what I had written. I gave them each three pieces of paper and told them to copy what I had written front and back on each page.
“What? That’s not fair!” My middle son, Chad replied.
I raised my eyebrows and promptly gave Chad an additional sheet of paper. “Anyone else want to complain?”
The room grew silent for the exception of the sound of pencils writing furiously on paper. Content with myself, I went into another room and began to read. The Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder. Well, He actually whispered in my mind.
“Am I fair?” God asked.
“Well, of course. You are God.”
I felt a silence settle over me. Oh, how I recognized that silence from other times when the Spirit is prompting me to learn something. So I sat quietly for a moment. A parable that Jesus told in Matthew 20:1-16 came to mind.
The story starts out like this: “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.”
What happens next is where the story gets interesting. The landowner goes out once again and hires more men at nine o’clock, noon, and five o’clock. When the working day is over, the owner calls all of the men forward for their pay. Now here’s the kicker, the owner pays all of the men the same amount of money! Those who worked all day long received the same amount as those who only worked an hour! As you can imagine, the men who worked longer complained. They didn’t think the owner was being fair.
The owner replied, “‘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?”
And Jesus follows up the parable by saying, “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
The wage situation doesn’t seem fair because all the workers weren’t treated equally. Really what happened was the morning workers “compared” the work they did with the afternoon and evening workers.
Comparing is a subjective measure of fairness. Comparing leads to resentment, anger, a woe-is-me attitude and so much more.
Most of the time when fairness is questioned, isn’t in relation to ourselves?“Is this fair to/for me?”And who’s standard are we using to measure fairness, anyway?
Perhaps what appears to be unequal can be JUST and RIGHT.
“God is right and just; He will be my shield and refuge.” Psalm 18:30
All the workers were paid their promised wage, right? But they didn’t factor in generosity. And they most certainly didn’t factor in GRACE, which is what this parable illustrates.
The owner wasn’t concerned with how long the men worked—He only knew they needed a job. Similarly, God doesn’t see the amount of sin we carry. In His eyes, we are all sinners in need of salvation. We are all in need of grace. (Romans 3:23)
As I contemplated this parable I realized, my kids weren’t the only ones who needed to learn about fairness. This is what I’ve discovered.
GOD IS NOT FAIR.
GRACE IS NOT FAIR.
JESUS PAYING THE PRICE FOR THE SINS OF MANKIND IS NOT FAIR.
When I reflect on these facts, suddenly I’m glad that God is not fair.
My friends, the beauty of grace is it makes life not fair. And I’m Okay with that. I’m Okay with not getting the penalties that I deserve for my many sins. I wholeheartedly accept the fact that Jesus paid the price for them. And furthermore, I will be eternally grateful.
What do you think? Is God fair?
O what an on time read. Many times I have gone to God grumbling and complaining about me, me, me. I do this and I do that….making a laundry list of everything I do in comparison to others, but God!
God always brings me back with His truth, I’m God, your not, so why not let me. Very nice read Beckie, brought me some wonderful insight.
Thanks, Shira! I’m writing for myself too 🙂
That wasn’t fair of you to use that story! 😉
What a awesome parable that is! We just studied that a few Sundays ago at church. You’re insight and wisdom continues to bless my life. Thanks mom. 🙂
Awww, now this blesses a mama’s heart! Thanks, son! And thanks for all the ammunition for great stories. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to embarrass you too much. You’ve got some on me too (No horse!) I’m so proud of the man of God you are. I’m a blessed woman indeed!
As I read this, the thought of pride kept coming to mind. I deserve more than others or maybe even more than I have, after all. Ha! God is so good to keep us in our place. Pride is a heavy burden. I like His plan better.
Yes, Patty! Great insight. Pride comes before a fall, right? I like HIS plan better too 🙂
Very good insight! “Comparing is a subjective measure of fairness.” Comparing will always mess us up. You’re right that God is not fair, and I’m glad of that too!
Thanks, Lisa! I thank God every day for grace because that’s how often I need it!
Powerful message!! I’m often stopped in my tracks when I think about how grateful I am that God’s not fair because I’d be toast if He was. I truly would be. Instead, I’m accepted, loved and adopted! Wow! Thanks for sharing this great story. I needed to be reminded of this today!
So nice to be your neighbor at #momentsofhope link-up! Funny, because my kids fight over fairness a lot (currently on our family Disney vacation over who sits where). Sometimes I feel like unfairness teaches us patience, grace and the ability to humbly put someone before ourselves when “in all fairness” our turn should be next. Loved your post!
Valerie, Thanks for stopping by Spotlight. I’m glad the post was relatable. Blessings to you and yours!
So true! We are blessed because God is not fair.
Ah, comparison—that thief of joy! Even the apostles fell into that trap.
Another great post, Beckie!
So much truth here! Fair is a word I don’t “allow” in our home 🙂 If we get stuck in the whining of what is fair or not, we are wasting energy and missing out on the best we can make of a situation. I loved when you said, “Comparing is a subjective measure of fairness.” – Amen! Amen! and Amen!
Thank you so much for sharing this truth and hope with us at #MomentsofHope! I am so thrilled you joined me on my launch weekend and I hope to see you back on Monday!!!
Blessings and smiles,
Lori, Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m glad you could relate to the post. I’m honored to share at #MomentsofHope.