Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

God Is Not Fair

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

Doesn’t it make you mad when something is unfair, especially if you are on the receiving end?

We all want to be treated fairly, and I guess that most people feel that if we do our best, God will deal with us fairly on judgment day.

The trouble is Jesus taught that God does not operate according to our notion of what is fair.

In Matthew 20, Jesus told a story about a man who owned a vineyard.

Early in the morning he hired some workers, agreed to pay them the going rate for a day’s wage, and so they started working.

About nine o’clock, he found some more workers and told them he would pay them a fair wage, so they went to work.

The same thing happened at noon and again at three in the afternoon. Finally, at five in the afternoon he found some more men standing idle, hired them and sent them into his vineyard.

At sunset, he called his foreman and ordered him to pay all the workers, beginning with those hired last.

For their hour or so of work, they received the full day’s wage. So did everyone else, including the ones hired early in the morning. Everyone received a full day’s wage, no matter how long they had worked.

Those who had worked all day grumbled. They didn’t think it was fair that they got paid the same as those who had only worked an hour. They thought they should get more.

But the owner of the vineyard said, “What’s your gripe? You got the day’s wage we agreed on. If I want to give the same wage to someone who didn’t work as long as you, that’s my business.”

The main point is that God doesn’t operate on the merit system as we think he should.

God deals with us according to His free grace.

As Paul explains:

‘For it is by his grace you are saved through trusting him; it is not your own doing. It is God’s gift, not a reward for work done. There is nothing for anyone to boast of’. (Ephesians 2:8–9 New English Bible).

Even if you’re a pretty good person, one who has been at work in the vineyard since early morning, you ‘have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23) and the wages you have earned for that sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Maybe the person coming in at five in the afternoon has more sin than you, but if God is going to be fair everyone’s sin must be paid for.

Either we pay (the merit system), or God pays (the grace system).

Thankfully God, through the death of His Son, pays the penalty for us and freely offers us eternal life.

‘…[we] are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded…’(Romans 3:24–27)

‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’. (Romans 6:23)

God’s grace doesn’t seem fair to the self-righteous, but for those who recognize how undeserving they are, it is truly wonderful!

Have a good week thanking God that He does not fairly give us what we deserve but is full of grace,

Pastor Barry

8th November 2009

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