Posted by: gotjukies | September 22, 2008

Hey, that’s not fair! Says who? Well….

Ever have a group project you bust your butt to get it done well and on time… and someone in your group shows up on the day your turn it in –just to sign their name? You end up getting an ‘A’ anyway, but you feel like that person kinda ‘cheated’?

How about on a sports team where you’re working your tail off to barely getting playing time when the girl next to you in the lineup is faster/taller/better than you, scores more goals or points then you, and barely even breaks a sweat?

What about at home? Younger siblings have a knack for getting away with all sorts of stuff. Ever wonder why they seem to get away with more than you do? Even better: they seem to be getting more than you ever did at that age?

If any of these scenarios ring true for you, you’re not alone. Almost everyone has encountered these situations through school, work, or at home and sometimes, I have to admit, it’s like you just. Can’t. Catch. A break. Well, fear not. For today’s Gospel from Matthew (20:1-16) speaks directly to you. In the parable of the landowner, Jesus speaks of a landowner who hired laborers throughout the day. He began by hiring workers early in the morning and offered to pay them a day’s wage in exchange for their work. As the day progressed, the landowner found additional idle workers every hour and hired them with the same offer of a day’s wage for their labor. At the end of the day, the landowner ordered that those who were hired last (meaning: those who did the least hours of work) to be paid first, then continuing down the line until the very first hired laborer was paid. Those who worked only a couple of hours took their pay and went on their way. Those who worked since the early morning hours saw this, and assumed they’d be paid more. When they were finally paid, the saw that they were paid no more than those who had done much less work and they grumbled that they got sleighted.

Have you ever encountered this before? Maybe you were late to the ‘party’ and ended up walking away with the grand prize. Or you were there earlier than anyone else, and when the dust settled, no one even remembered you were there.

The landowner replies to one of the grumbling workers by stating that he kept his word: They worked for one day, and therefore they were rightly paid for one day’s worth of labor.

You see, the landowner is being fair: He paid all of the workers exactly what they agreed to. Isn’t the landowner entitled to do whatever he wants with his own money? What if he feels like being generous? Is that his fault? Sometimes we forget why we are doing God’s work and we begin comparing our own work to all sorts of stuff that isn’t even related! We must remind ourselves that when we put our ‘shoulder to the plow’ and put in our own ‘days worth of work’, God has promised us His grace and salvation and that’s all there is to it. There are no “check stores for details”, “restrictions may apply”, or “offer expires on _______” fine print. God can do whatever He wants and we would be very lucky to enter into His kingdom of heaven. Be careful that you do not get caught standing there sifting through your wallet full of ‘tens’ and ‘twenties’, when the person next to you only has spare change and offers all of it to a homeless person on the street. This parable of the landowner is very similar to the parable of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50) and is eerily similar to the story we hear time and time again on Palm Sunday. Do you remember the two criminals who were crucified next to Jesus? The thief asks Jesus to “Remember me when you come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). And to that, Jesus replies, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). He may have been a criminal and a thief, and led a sinful life, but his faith alone is what saved him. Offer the Lord how much you have, whether it be a little or a lot, and remember that your reward will be great.

What does this say about people who come to our youth group often… and those that don’t?

How about those who are actively involved versus those who just like to ‘hang out’?

What’s fair? What really matters?

Check out Luke 15:11-32 and read about the parable of the prodigal son and his brother if you need some further insight.



  1. so i had this connecting thought: younger siblings are born later, thus have lived [think worked] a far shorter time than their elder sibling – however, as we’ve noted, they often recieve EQUAL things/privileges AT THE SAME TIME as those who have live [worked] longer. how cool that that works out – it’s like Jesus wanted this to work out through the ages or something 🙂

  2. Your younger sibling receives equal privileges as you do right now? Sorry to say but, you’re getting gypped.

    Oops…. I think I just totally discredited my entire blog posting. Lol.

  3. not necessarily, that was a hypothetical comment

  4. and Jon’s burn was totally, totally hypothetical


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