Today’s lesson on fairness is taken from a sermon preached by Josh Reavis at Blackshear Place Baptist Church. Josh is a pastor at North Jax Baptist Church. These are my sermon notes on “That’s Not Fair.”
Matthew 20:1-16: That’s Not Fair
Laborers in the Vineyard
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ 9 When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. 10 When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”
What lessons can we learn from a story that reflects what we might feel is unfair? Obviously, if me and you were involved in this story, we wouldn’t be happy if someone else got paid the same amount of money for doing less work.
- God keeps His word.
God has never broken His promise.
God never promised that life would be easy or fair. He does promise that He will be with us and that He’ll take care of us.
2. God is in charge.
God does not distribute by method or achievement. His grace is the same for all of us.
The same measure of grace is shown to the person saved at the last minute of life as the one who lived a lifetime in fellowship with God.
3. God is generous.
God will do what He wishes with what is His.
Instead of saying, “That’s not fair” to God, try saying:
God, if this doesn’t work out, we still love You.
God, if this doesn’t go as planned, we know You still love us.
God, is this doesn’t work out the way we want, You are still good.
“Don’t doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.”