“He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’
“Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”
Matthew 20:13-16 MSG
Here Jesus tells a parable representing Gods grace, forgiveness and love in which labourers who are hired at different times throughout the day that all end up getting paid equally at the end of that day. The ones who have faithfully put in a full days work are obviously upset because the others who have only toiled for a couple hours end up getting paid equally to them.
Gods math is different.
Gods grace changes the arithmetic.
Grace messes with our rules and our interpretations of what fairness should look like.
"Are you going to be stingy because I am generous?" Or it could also say "gracious" here.
This is a warning to us not to be stingy in offering love, friendship, forgiveness and grace by our own calculations and measurements of what we believe someone deserves.
And if we are honest with ourselves than we can admit to being stingy. We can and do withhold love or forgiveness to help balance out what we perceive to be good justice.
So often we will compare our spiritual health, growth and well-being to others of our choosing. Which is convenient and serves the purpose of making us feel good about ourselves. We tally up all of our spiritual accomplishments and put together a glowing resume and then sit back feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.
However, God views us all on equal ground as his children, with no child being better than another. Borrowing a scripture passage from my last post the Apostle Paul says that "we are all in the same boat".
All of our goodness or righteousness is mere trash compared to Gods. Because God pours out love, grace and forgiveness without strings attached, without any prerequisite on our part.
Very often grace looks unfair, or fair depending on how you look at it.
In the end we all get rewarded equally and receive the same measure of Gods love, grace and forgiveness.
That is perfect math!