A Controversial Employer

Lou Lotz

READ : Matthew 20:11-16

These last worked only one hour, and you have made

them the equal to us who have borne

the burden of the day. (v. 12)

Life is not fair. All the more reason then why God
should be. God should be the one
authority we can count on to be fair, to reward people
according to their efforts, to
compensate them for how long and how hard they’ve worked
in the vineyard. But according to
the parable, every worker gets the same wages,
regardless of how long or hard he’s worked.
That’s not fair.

Of course, how you react to the master’s generosity
depends a lot on where in line you
happen to be standing. I don’t hear any complaining
coming from the back of the line,
where the one-hour workers congregate. I hear cheers and
laughter coming from there. It’s
as you move toward the front of the line that you begin
to hear indignant protests. In
every case the pay is the same, a fair day’s wage, but
how it is received depends entirely
on where in the line you happen to be standing.

Most of us hear this parable from the front of the
line. We see ourselves as the
all-day workers who deserve the greatest reward. But
maybe we’re not as deserving as we
think. We could be a lot farther back in line than we

God is not fair, thank goodness. God is generous,
dealing with us not according to our
merits, but according to the riches of his grace. On
Judgment Day, when the accounts are
being settled, the cheers and the laughter coming from
the back of the line might well be our own.


Heavenly Father, forgive me when I begrudge your generosity.