Saturday, May 2

Beyond fair

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

Matthew 20:13–15  “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?’

Observation

Jesus’ story about the hiring of the vineyard workers is a dramatic portrayal of grace.  

A vineyard owner hires workers first thing in the morning and promises them the usual daily wage (a denarius).  Later, he hires more people at 9 am, noon, 3 pm and even 5 pm (only one hour left), without stipulating their wage.  At the end of the day, he paid them all, starting with those hired last.  He paid them all a denarius, generously giving everyone a full day’s wage even though most of them had worked only part of a day—as little as one hour.  

Those hired first protested: “This is not fair.  You’ve paid us all the same, but we worked longer.”  

The owner responded by saying that he wasn’t being unfair; he was being generous.  He paid them what he promised: a day’s wage for a day’s work.  That’s fair.  Everyone else got more than they deserved due to the owner’s generosity and kindness.  That’s grace.

The Kingdom of God goes by grace, not fairness.  God is so gracious that it scandalizes some people.  “No fair!”

Application

Two thoughts:

First, God is scandalously gracious.   He is so kind, so generous that there should be moments it makes us protest!  “Really Lord?  You’re going to accept that person?”  His Kingdom is characterized by scandalous grace, by people receiving far more than they deserve, by a God who is generous beyond imagination.  This should make our hearts swell with praise and adoration and gratitude!

Second, this same scandalous grace should characterize our lives.  There should be moments of grace that cause others to protest: “Really?  You’re going to accept that person?  You’re going to forgive that sin?  You’re going to be that generous, that kind to that undeserving person?”  When you live in the Kingdom, under the Lordship of Jesus, doing His will on earth as in heaven, your life with be characterized by His scandalous grace.

There is fair—that’s how people typically operate.  Then there is beyond fair—scandalous grace, kindness and generosity.  That’s how God—and His people—operate.

Prayer: Lord, fill me with Your scandalous grace until my life looks like Yours—full of grace, kindness and generosity.  Beyond fair!