Matthew 20:1-16 New Living Translation (NLT)
20 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay the normal daily wage[a] and sent them out to work.
3 “At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. 4 So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day.
5 So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing. 6 “At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’7 “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’8 “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. 9 When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’
13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’
16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
“That’s not FAIR!”
If you’ve raised children, or spent any time around them, you’ve probably heard that phrase exclaimed thousands of times.
From the time our children were young, Doug and I tried to be honest with them about life. When faced with a child’s sense of injustice, we would sympathize with how they were feeling, but follow it up with truth: “yep…life isn’t always fair (at least in the way YOU think it should be!)” This principle doesn’t just apply to the little people in this house though….it’s something I continue to struggle with too.
Years ago I was pretty focused on coveting my neighbors possessions. If they got new clothes, I deserved new clothes. If they bought a car, I deserved a car. If they went on a fancy smancy vacation I deserved one. If they had the latest electronic gadget, I deserved that too. Unfortunately, as I became a follower of Christ, my sense of entitlement didn’t magically disappear. Instead, it shifted to another realm of coveting: deserving the same “blessings” other Christians received. This attitude is a dangerous one because not only does it puff up my pride to enormous levels, it causes me to judge others wrongly and unfairly AND it questions the sovereignty and goodness of God.
“It’s not FAIR that…
-so and so got a big, new house and we have to keep repairing this old one!”
-I have to home-school my kids, cook, clean, be a taxi driver, clean the house, pay the bills while so and so gets a maid and can afford to hire a babysitter every week!”
-so and so gets free vacations and we have to save $ for 5 years to go somewhere!”
-so and so has all the gifts of the Spirit and I only have 3!”
-so and so’s church/ministry gets more attention than ours”
-I work all day and get paid as much as so and so -and they only worked an hour!”
When I fail to humbly come before my Savior with a heart of gratitude for His love, mercy and goodness I can easily fall prey to the lies of the enemy. The result of living in the kingdom of darkness is a life filled with judgement, entitlement, ungratefulness & pride……and in the Kingdom of Heaven, that will make me last.
Thank you for choosing me to be your daughter. Thank you for sending your perfect son to die in my place so that I could spend eternity with you. Thank you for the abundance of blessings you pour out on me every day: a loving husband, 4 extraordinary children, good friends, a supportive extended family, a beautiful home, fresh food to eat, cars that run, homeschool supplies, smart phones, computers, kitchen gadgets…….the list goes on and on. Thank you for filling me with your Spirit and loving me enough to discipline the areas of my heart that are not yet fully surrendered to you.
You are a kind, loving and just landowner.