Clint had grown up in a rural community. When he graduated, he moved off to the city for college and eventually found a well paying job at the center of the financial district. As the years went by, he felt the desire to enjoy some time in the country. He longed for the simple pleasantries that he remembered country life offered him as boy. So, he purchased a rather large piece of land right outside the city, with the intention of building a getaway that he might enjoy on weekends, holidays, and extended vacations.
The time came for him to have his land cleared. Saturday morning, before the sky was lit, he hired five locals to start clearing away brush. They agreed to be paid one hundred dollars for working until dark. About 8:00 he hired several more hands. In a hurry, he explained that he would make it worth their while at the end of the day, so they could take the job or leave it.
At noon, he checked on the progress of the land, and realized it was larger than he thought. He decided to hire some more men to speed the project up. He found five locals ready to work, and he promised he would square up with them at the end of the day.
A couple of hours before dark, he noticed some men outside a neighborhood store inquiring about work. He stopped and told them about the land he was having cleared, and they were eager to at least make something for the day. So he dropped them off at his land, and they went to work as the sun started to quicken its descent.
Just as the sun dipped below the horizon, the land owner returned to a large group of weary men. He was pleased at how much had been accomplished in one day. He gestured for the men to join him, and ran a thumb across his palm, signaling it was time to be paid. The men that he had hired last were the first in line with their hands out ready to be paid. They were quite surprised when they were each handed a crisp one-hundred dollar bill.
News of what the hands hired late in the day were paid quickly made its way down the line. Those that had been working all day could hardly wait to see what they got paid. They expected it to be substantially more because they had worked many additional hours. They were outraged when they only received one-hundred dollars. They became indignant, exclaiming, “This isn’t fair. We worked much longer and received the same pay as the men who only worked a couple of hours.”
The land owner reminded the men that he paid them exactly what was agreed upon. The men couldn’t argue against his words. He brought to their attention that it was his money and he could do with it as he pleased. He explained that he wanted the other men to return home with a full days wage as well.
Jesus tells this story in Matthew 20, and he is speaking of salvation. Those of us who have known God our whole life should not begrudge those that turn to him late in the day of their lives. We can make application of this story too many areas of lives.
So often, we hear people say, “God isn’t fair.” Why did God give that person more than me? Why do talents, wealth, and gifts seem unevenly distributed? Why is he more successful? Why is God blessing them more? Why haven’t my dreams been realized and others’ have? God simply isn’t fair.
Never has a truer statement been uttered. God is not fair. Be thankful that he isn’t. If God were fair, we would all spend an eternity apart from Him in hell. We would be dead in our sins with no hope. Honestly, I don’t want what is fair. I would rather rest in His generosity and revel in His grace.
God not being fair is the beauty of Christianity. It levels the playing field. He shows no favoritism. Everyone is invited to be a part of His kingdom and enjoy a relationship with Him. He invites people unto Himself that have a past full of heinous sins along with those who seem to have things more together. The truth is, everyone falls short of His glory, and He offers to cover us all with His grace.
The next time we are tempted to be jealous or question God, let’s just be thankful. The next time we are tempted to say, “God isn’t fair” let’s instead be thankful that He isn’t. If God were fair, it would be hopeless for us all.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.