Monday, August 17, 2015

FAIRNESS vs. GRACE ---- We win!

Matthew 20:1-16  is titled, in my Bible, "The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard."   I think it should be called something like, "The Parable of the Gracious Landowner."   As Caz pointed out Sunday, to the workers the issue was fairness:  when the guys who had only worked part of the day got paid the same as the ones that started in the morning, the ones who had worked all day cried "foul"--  "They began to grumble against the landowner."   But the landowner (who represents the Kingdom of heaven-- the "world as it should be") was demonstrating GRACE.

GRACE is a concept that's pretty foreign to this world's system.  Some people are even offended by it-- they think it means someone is "getting away with something"-- or getting something they don't deserve.  And actually, that is the whole point of grace:   we all are "eligible"  to receive something we don't deserve.   The Father-God is willing to let us "get away with" not paying for our sins... His Son took care of that for us. 

 Interestingly, children are especially concerned about fairness.  That's why grade-school kids love board games:  there are rules, and if you follow the rules, you might win.  But not  following the rules is "not fair!"  It seems like a lot of adults are stuck at this child-level of maturity-- more concerned about their perceived idea of "fairness" than about grace.  I have to admit, grace is messy-- it gets doled out to everyone, whether we think that person deserves it or not.  Because I tend to be naturally a little rigid and judgmental in my thinking, I've often struggled with the "unfairness" of what someone else seemed to be getting away with.   That's not fair....

But what I've discovered for myself is that there is a deeper issue behind this need for "fairness."  And that is...  fear.  I think people (like me) who have stubbornly held onto their need for fairness are fear-based.  And a fear-based system is founded on the belief that there is only so much to go around:  Only so many fudge brownies.   Only so much love.   Only so much freedom.  And if you get 55%, then there's only 45% left for me...  and that's not fair!  I need all I can get!  (of whatever it is.)  In this parable, Jesus was trying to show that in God's world, in the Kingdom of Heaven, there is plenty to go around.   No one gets left out.   No one gets shorted.   And.... no one gets what they "deserve"--    we all get a lot more!   There is more love, and grace, and freedom waiting for us all than we can probably imagine.  So... let go of your need for "fairness"... and step into the Kingdom world of extravagant GRACE.

~Papa Rick  (aka Beth's Dad)