The law-abiding citizen “deserves” forgiveness. But what about the murderer? The faithful spouse “deserves” a home in heaven. But what about the adulterer? A person who leaves the comforts of home and serves for forty years in a foreign land “deserves” salvation. But what about a person who rejected God all their life and then trusted him on their deathbed? Is God’s grace fair?
Today’s passage is the conclusion of a story Jesus told about a man who hired workers for the day. Some went out early in the morning to start working in his vineyard. About 9 AM he hired others to join them. He hired additional workers at noon, some more at 3 PM, and then a final group at 5 PM—one hour before quitting time. When the workers lined up for their pay everyone was given the same amount of money. The men who had started early in the morning were none too pleased to learn that those who had worked less time received the same amount.
“’Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”
The point of Jesus’ story is not about a vineyard, workers, or wages. This is a story of grace. Those of us who have been believers for some time can start to feel like we deserve what God gives us, that he is privileged to have us on his team. How dare he show grace to “sinners!” That’s when he sternly reminds us that grace is a free gift and can never be earned. The “good citizen” and the murderer; the faithful spouse and the adulterous one; the missionary who gave their lives in service or the person who turns to Christ with their last breath—grace is available for all. Thank God that grace is never fair.
- Thank God for his amazing grace that reached all the way down to you.
- Ask God to pour that amazing grace on all those in your family.
Father, thank you for your grace. May those of us who have followed you for many years never begin to feel deserving. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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