That's Not Fair!

Jon Burgess


“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:13-16‬


When I read this passage I can't help but hear the sound of a million offended voices shouting in unison- "That's not right because that's not fair!" The workers who had started at the beginning of the day felt unjustly treated because those who were hired at the end of the day were paid the same. The employers argument is not easy to hear but is hard to argue against. It's his money. It was in the contract: a day for a denarius. It's not favoritism or discrimination on his part to use his money the way he wishes.


Isn't that where the rub is? At the intersection of our rights and what God says is right. When did we start treating His money as if it's ours? When did we start thinking God owes us more when we owe Him everything? We complain that God is violating our rights when we were supposed to leave our rights at the foot of the cross and follow Him! He laid down His rights to purchase our freedom on that cross! This is exactly what Jesus was getting at with His disciples by using this parable. We are called to leave our entitled titles, our self-righteous rights, our indignant arguments behind and learn the ways of the generous life in Christ. This teaching from Christ flies in the face of our American mindset, but it's not only our modern day sensibilities that have a hard time it. Jesus went on to clarify: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” Matthew‬ ‭20:25-28‬ ‭NIV‬‬


I'll be honest. My flesh bristles at the idea of laying down my rights. My boys often cry out in disgust "Dad, that's not fair" when I give a gift to another brother while they completely forget what I've already given to them. I realize I do the same with You. Instead of comparing and complaining may I be ever more grateful and gracious towards those who receive gifts around me. Forgive me for my entitlement. What I deserved was death, but You gave me life! So, I give my life to serve You whether or not my flesh feels like it's fair!

Devotions for May 04

2 Samuel 8,9
1 Chronicles 18,19
Matthew 21

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