Give Me A Minute – It’s Not Fair

How many times have we heard that expression? “It’s not fair?” What does that really mean?

I wanted to get a good definition of the word “fair.” I think this one says it well.

marked by impartiality and honesty:  free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.”

I was reading the book of Matthew recently and in Chapter 20 it talks about the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Early one morning a businessman hires a group of workers and promises to pay them a day’s pay if they work in his vineyard. Several more times during the day, other men were hired and also promised a fair wage. It’s interesting that the “fair wage” is not defined. That gives the business owner room to negotiate. Finally, around 5:00 in the afternoon, another group was brought in and they worked for about an hour.

At quitting time, when everyone got paid, those who worked all day were very upset. The business owner paid everyone a full day’s pay. Even those who only worked for an hour. Was that fair? Reading the definition above, it feels like the business owner showed favoritism. If I’d worked all day, I’d be ticked. But doesn’t the business owner have the right to pay each employee whatever he wants? And at the end of the day, it cost him more to pay each person the same than if he’d pro-rated the wages for those who didn’t work a full day. So, what’s the lesson here?

Reading the definition above, it feels like the business owner played favorites. If I’d worked all day, I’d be ticked. But doesn’t the business owner have the right to pay each employee whatever he wants? And at the end of the day, it cost him more to pay each person the same than if he’d pro-rated the wages for those who didn’t work a full day. So, what’s the lesson here?

First, once we meet our debts and obligations, we are free to give our money to whoever we want. In this case, the business owner chose to be charitable and to reward the men who hadn’t been hired for a full day’s work. Most of us want the guys who got hired first to either get more than the others, or we want those hired later to get less than those hired first. That would be fair.

The second lesson has little to do with fairness. I think it’s simply that everyone who gets to heaven will get their rewards, but some people are more useful in kingdom work than others and they will be rewarded accordingly. The Apostle Paul ministered for about 30 years. Even though I’ve been at this longer than he was, I’m guessing he will be rewarded more than me. It’s not fair.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s