People who worked for only an hour received the same pay as those who worked all day – and it was hard physical labor to boot! And Jesus’ answer? Well, that’s the pay you agreed to…quit whining! (paraphrased by me, of course!) Now, how can that be fair?
It isn’t, but then again, life isn’t! I once heard a speaker say that the best thing that you can do for your children is to teach them that life isn’t fair. He suggested cutting a large piece of cake for one and a smaller piece for the other and when the complaints begin, take that opportunity to teach them that life isn’t always fair. I don’t think that anyone would argue that, but it surely doesn’t feel good when we are on the ‘not fair side’.
Back to the parable….why is it that I always think of myself as the worker who worked all day? Do I really toil on God’s ‘vineyard’ all day? When I think about people like Mother Teresa or the many who devote their lives to ‘vineyard’ work, I am hardly in that category. No, I am more like the worker at the end of the day.
That gives an entirely different perspective to that parable. To think that our generous God will recognize my meager efforts and reward me so magnanomously is beyond any concept of human ‘fairness’. It can only be explained in the light of a crazy lover (in other words, our God).
Life isn’t fair, no question about it, but thankfully, neither is God. He is always ready to give us so much more than we deserve or ‘earn’. The cross certainly says it all, doesn’t it?