One of the core values of Australia is the right to a ‘fair go.’ When someone doesn’t get what they deserve, it often causes our blood to boil.
When one kid gets more lollies than another, then we hear the cry, “it’s just not fair!” And when one employee gets paid more than another person who does exactly the same job.
But imagine if everybody got paid the same, whether or not they worked a one-hour day, or an eight-hour day. How could that be fair?
Jesus tells the story of a landowner who hired workers for his field, and agreed to give them a set fee.
Later in the day, he recruited some more workers, and at the end of the day, he paid them the same amount, even though they’d worked far less than the others.
The workers who started in the morning were angry because they felt it wasn’t fair. They grumbled against the landowner and said, ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ (Matthew 20:12)
But Jesus said ‘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)
Jesus has chosen to give the full gift of eternal life to all who trust in him, whether that person followed Jesus from childhood or came to trust in him on their deathbed.
And given that none of us deserve any mercy, we should all be eternally grateful for the forgiveness God gives us when we trust in Jesus as our loving ruler and saviour.