It's Not Fair!


God's generosity extends to everyone, not just to those who deserve it.


God, help me understand Your heart, which is always good and always for me, and to follow You with all that's in me.


Matthew 20:1-16


What is your reaction to the story?

Children are quick to say "It's not fair!" when they feel mistreated. This landowner seems to be playing fair with his laborers (2). He also seems very kind in employing more people throughout the day (3-6). However, as the story unfolds, we're left wondering how fair he is actually being (9,10). Why do the first workers hired feel that the landowner is being unfair (12)? How justified is their reaction?

In this story the landowner is a picture of God, and the laborers are his people. God's justice is pictured in the way the landowner pays those taken on early in the day (13,14), and his overwhelming, undeserved generosity is pictured in the way the landowner pays those taken on last (9,14,15).

We don't know whether Jesus was directing this parable at anyone in particular. He certainly hits the nail on the head with the landowner's question (15). He exposed the attitudes that many people had: the longer you served God and the better your life, the greater your reward should be. The point is clear: while God deals with everyone with justice, he also pours out his love with a generosity far greater than anyone can deserve.


Consider God's justice and generosity in your own life. Thank him for both.


Lord, I could never begin to truly appreciate the whole of Your grace, but let me grow deeper in understanding it.

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