Thursday, May 3

More than fair

Scripture: 2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17, Psalm 2, Matthew 20

Matthew 20: 13-25 “He replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I’m doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me on a denarius?  14 Take what’s yours and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my business?  Are you jealous  because I’m generous?’


In the story of the vineyard workers, the boss pays everyone the same wage—one denarius, which was the going rate for a day’s labor—regardless of how long they worked.  So the men who worked 1 hour, or 3 or 6 or 9 were all paid the same as the ones who worked 12 hours!  Why this unfair pay scale?  The boss was generous!


This story arouses in us a sense of injustice.  We want to shout with the all-day workers, “No fair!”

And it isn’t fair.  Fair would mean that everyone got paid proportionately to the work they did.  More work, more pay; less work, less pay.  That’s fair.

And that’s how we are accustomed to work working.  It’s a meritocracy.  You are paid on merit, on work done, on results.

But generosity is more than fair—it’s…generous!  Sometimes generosity can offend our sense of fairness.  “He doesn’t deserve that.”  Generosity goes beyond what we deserve—that’s what makes it generous.  If we only give what someone deserves or earns, that’s not generous—that’s just fair.  Generosity is more than fair!  I’d rather receive generosity than fairness!

So I need to learn to be generous more than fair.  

Of course, the point of Jesus’ story isn’t primarily about how we treat each other.  This is about how God treats us.  God is more than fair—He’s generous.  He gives us what we don’t deserve.  This is grace.  Enjoy it.  Be grateful for it.  Celebrate it.

Then try giving it away!

What would happen if we consistently gave others more than they deserved, just as God does with us?  

Prayer: Lord, help me be more than fair today in all my interactions.  Help me be extravagantly generous!