Better Than Fair
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 18:7-15 | Exodus 10:1-12:13 | Matthew 20:1-28 |
Today’s Scripture Focus: Matthew 20:1-28
“Friend, I am not being unfair to you…Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:13,15 NIV)
I had a professor that tells the story of Alex, a student at the time, coming to her office to speak about a paper that he had turned in late. He apologized to her for the late arrival of the paper knowing that it meant a lower grade. She asked him, “Do you want grace or justice?” He answered, “I don’t deserve grace, so I guess I’ll take justice.” She recalls having a hard time not laughing at the irony of the answer for grace is never deserved. Grace always means God treating us better than we deserve.
That is certainly the point of Jesus parable. God is generous and treats us all better than we deserve. Grace is not fair. It is better than fair.
In the parable Jesus describes a vineyard owner hiring workers for his vineyard. The first group starts working early in the morning for the promised wage of a denarius for the day. A few hours later, he finds another group of workers who are hired on the promise of “I will pay you what is right.” Throughout the day at noon, three and 5, he adds to his workforce.
When it was time to pay them, each group is paid the same wage: one denarius. Some worked all day, others worked only an hour. But to each group generosity was shown.
Grace is not fair. It is better than fair. God always treats us better than we deserve. Some will need more grace than others. We all come into the kingdom at different times and at different places in our spiritual journey. Yet we all need the grace of God—we all need the undeserved generosity of God. We never deserve grace. It is always a free gift from a generous God.