But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last. Matthew 20:13-16 NIV
“No! Nooo!” She screamed. She crossed her arms, stomped one foot on the floor, and looked up at me in the simultaneously pitiful and angry way that three-year-olds do.
“Mine! No fair! No fair!” As I sat her down and calmly explained to her that none of the toys in the church nursery were hers, and that she would have to share and wait her turn, her tears began to dry up. A minute later, however, she was pouting in a corner, waiting bitterly for a turn with the toy to which she felt entitled.
Watching her pout there, my frustration melted into amusement. I laughed as I realized how very much like her I am.
There are times when I look out at a world of materialism, and I want more. There are times I see my friends with successful jobs or young families and I feel jilted. I feel cheated, as if life or God owed me something.
How often do we look up to God with self-pitying and angry eyes? How often do we stomp our feet and, within our hearts, scream, “No fair!”? How often have we come before God with a spirit of entitlement, pouting like a three-year-old, for the things we think we deserve, forgetting all the while that all the toys in the nursery belong to God, and we deserve nothing?
There is a quote by Oscar Wilde that helps me in my more ungrateful hours, “Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing, for most of us, that it is not.”
It is important to remember that we deserve nothing – not wealth, or health, not family, or friends, not even freedom, love, or happiness. Life itself is an undeserved gift.
No, life isn’t fair, and really neither is God. God is grace, and grace is, by definition, unfair. Grace is being granted something which one does not deserve. If God were fair, if He granted us what we actually deserve, we would have no salvation, no way to know Him at all (hell).
So stop complaining. Just accept it. Life isn’t fair and thank God that it isn’t.
Try this twist on counting your blessings – make a list of all the things in your life you feel you do not deserve. No, it’s not a guilt-thing. It’s a grateful-thing. Then do a little research on conditions in The Congo, or South Sudan. Comparison isn’t always a bad thing.
God, forgive me. What unimaginable mercy and humility must You possess to continue to pour out blessings on such an undeserving and ungrateful daughter? Forgive me, and thank You. Thank You that through my weakness and unworthiness, Your grace is made known. Let my life, actions, and attitude showcase Your glory. Amen.