Friday, Jan. 20, 2023 – Matthew 19-20

“It isn’t fair!” I am in the parental season when that phrase is the soundtrack of my life, repeating again and again like the imperial march that plays when Darth Vader enters a scene in the Star Wars movies. My theme song is not nearly as catchy, but my kids can’t help it—justice is nowhere to be found! "My brother’s biggest Christmas present is bigger than my biggest one! My sister’s bowl has more ice cream in it! He doesn’t have homework, why do I have to do mine? She broke the rules when you weren’t looking and got away with it, so I should get a pass when I get caught!"

A friend of mine is fond of saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Jesus’ parable at the beginning of Matthew 20 is about comparison, and we can all relate to these workers. I’m sure you could imagine how it would feel if you found out that your coworkers’ hourly wage was eight times what yours was. Jesus seems to be responding the same way I respond to my kids, “Sorry, but life isn’t fair. What your sibling gets has nothing to do with you.” This really grates against us, but we each must look in the mirror and realize that God has fulfilled his promise to us, and there is no reason why that can’t be enough. Worrying about someone else’s blessing cheats me out of mine.

Notice that the workers aren’t ever complaining because they got more than their fair share. I try to point this out to my kids, but they don’t seem interested in this tidbit. For the workers and my kids, fairness isn’t interesting when things are unfair in my favor, and if this is true for you and me, is fairness our true interest?

God of grace, make me content knowing that your will for me is better. You want more for me than I could ever want for myself and worrying about what others have has stolen the enjoyment of receiving from your abundance. Forbid it, Lord, that I would shun your good gifts for any reason, especially because I doubt that they are good enough. Amen.

Questions for reflection:

  1. List the good things God has given you. What have you neglected to thank him for?
  2. What would you have if God was actually fair with you? What is unfair about grace?
  3. Think of a time when things were unfair in your favor. How did you handle the situation? If the roles had been reversed, would you have handled it the same?
  4. How might God be calling you to advocate for generosity over fairness? Does this challenge the way you see the world?