“Its not fair!’ It’s something our kids often vehemently declare upon deciding they have been at the receiving end of an injustice or what they perceive as unfair. It’s perhaps something most of us either say, think or feel regularly if we were completely honest.
But Jesus actually messes with our thoughts on fairness because in His economy life and His gift of grace has nothing to do with being fair or giving to us what we deserve.
When we read the bible and get to know God and His heart for all mankind we learn something both amazing and confusing. We read of the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance, broke his Father’s heart, and then eventually came back home destitute and asking for a job. Instead of punishing his son the Father rejoiced, threw a big party and proclaimed, “my son was lost, but now he is found”. (Luke 15:11-32) His brother however is heard saying the words, which perhaps have rung out in our own hearts…”but that’s not fair, I’ve been doing the right thing, working and being a good son and you have never thrown a big party for me.”
“But that’s not fair!” would undoubtedly have been muttered amongst the those listening as Jesus told the parable of the workers who were hired to labour in a farmer’s field. Some started early in the morning and worked all day in the hot sun, others started a few hours later and then finally there were those who had been idly standing around in the marketplace doing nothing until they were called to work for the last hour of the day. At payment time as work ended for the day all were given the same amount of wages regardless of the hours they had worked. What employer does that, paying the same amount for an hour’s work as for twelve? (Matthew 20:1-16)
Or the astounding act of grace extended to the hardened criminal who hung on a cross beside Jesus as He died. This man who had undoubtedly lived a godless existence chose in his final moments on earth to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God and in doing so received forgiveness and an eternity in heaven. (Luke 23:39-43)
It doesn’t really make sense to a world where we are taught that nothing is free, no pain, no gain, you must work for everything you have and people get what they deserve. Yet, “if I care to listen, I hear a loud whisper from the gospel that I did not get what I deserved. I deserved punishment and got forgiveness. I deserved wrath and got love. I deserved debtor’s prison and got instead a clean credit history. I deserved stern lectures and crawl on you knees repentance; I got a banquet spread out for me.”(Philip Yancey)
God’s motive and heart towards us are always so full of grace. This grace can’t be earned and is nothing to do with finishing last or first or reliant on our self worth, works or anything we do or don’t do, but instead is a free gift from God, already bought and paid for. And His grace is definitely not fair in the world’s way of thinking, otherwise only “good” people would be loved and forgiven by God, the hard working would be the only one’s rewarded and if you only squeezed into heaven on your dying breath you would be viewed as insignificant in the company of the great men and woman of faith and good works.
But thank God for His grace that actually isn’t anything to do with “fairness” and which even though He always plainly sees us at our very best and worst, still extends His grace to us anyway. It’s a grace that never gives up on us; which is faithful to perfect that which it starts in us and promises we can never drift so far away from God’s love and grace that He won’t come looking for us and bring us home.
“For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 TPT)
“Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. “What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?”
Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” (Luke 5:29-32 Message translation)
Have a listen to this song by Bethel music and Jeremy Riddle called, “This is Amazing Grace to encourage you to receive His Grace today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn5zk3yCRr0
Prayer: Lord please help me to comprehend that your face is not about anything I can do or what is even fair, but all about you and your love for me. I thank you for your great grace today. In Jesus name Amen.