God is Unfair!

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Introduction  

QUESTION: As a parent, do you deal with the issue of “unfairness”?  

I deal with it quite a bit; usually right after I have been kind to one child, the other child takes note.  

The title of today’s Lord’s Supper lesson is “God is Unfair!”  

Please turn to Matthew 20.  

Experiment  

Before we read Matthew 20, I want to do an experiment.  

(a) First I will put on my Soccer Referee Shirt.  

  • I got certified as a Soccer Ref a few weeks ago. And I refereed my first game last Saturday.
  • So if you have a child playing AYSO soccer, you might want to treat me super nice J

(b) Next, I would like everyone to stand up who considers themselves a good soccer player.  

  • And I would like all of you (up to a max of 22 people) to come up front and stand on stage.

(c)  I need two captains (choose two).  

  • And I am going to ask you to pick teams – that will play each other after church.
  • Not too slowly, but thoughtfully – as if I were to give each player on the winning team $100.

(d) Stand back and let them pick the teams  

  • After the teams are selected, ask several of the 22 particpants how they felt during the choosing. Be sure to ask some of the earliest chosen and some of those who were chosen last.
  • Let everyone take their seats again – thank them for participating.

QUESTION: How would you have felt – waiting, hoping to be chosen?  

  • Helpless, anxious, disappointed, prideful, misunderstood, etc…
  • But often, somewhere along the way, we start having feelings like “This is unfair”.

Scripture  

In the final week of Jesus’ life, he left us some of the most important lessons of life.  

And in Matthew 20, he leaves us one parable that tells us that “God is Unfair” – and that’s a good thing!  

Let’s read Matthew 20:1-16  

Communion Message-Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Mt 20)1″For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early (7am?) in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3″About the third hour  (9am) he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour (noon) and the ninth hour (3pm) and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour (5pm) he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7″ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ 8″When evening (6pm?) came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’  9″The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12’These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’  13″But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16″So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  

<Explain the scenario in the parable again>  

Jesus says God is fair.
Yet Jesus’ parable makes us feel like this is whole thing is unfair.

QUESTION: So after hearing this, do you think God is fair? NO!!  

No matter how many people you ask, the answer will almost always be “No, the landowner is not fair”. There is an interesting video on YouTube that shows a reporter interviewing people about this parable and asking them if the boss was fair. The results were that about 90% said “No”.  

QUESTION: Who do you relate to in the story?  

  1. Are you one of the first guys picked? You are tired because you work so hard for the Lord.
  2. Or are you one of the last guys picked? And thus you are thankful. You feel like you have worked hard but have been paid much more than your work is really worth.

Therefore it is crystal clear to you that the the King is a very generous person…and that you have been treated unfairly
to YOUR advantage.  

Personal Sharing  

See, I am so much more like the first guy!  

  • I tend to think I am such a hard worker for the Lord.
  • When in reality, my hard work is but a drop in the bucket of salvation.

If you are like me, you really want God to be fair. You might even “need” him to be fair.  

QUESTION: Do you start your sentences with, “How come…?”  

  • How come the other guy always gets blessed?
  • How come the other guy looks for a job and finds it immediately?
  • How come the other guy gets his prayers answered?
  • And…on and on.

See life is never good when I start comparing myself to other people.  

That’s why I’ve never done an IQ test.

  1. Because it will either discourage me (if my score is lower than I think)
  2. Or it will make me prideful.

See, Jesus knew that very little good comes from comparing yourself to other people.  

Charity  

That’s why God is unfair! Because he’s Generous! God was generous with his charity. And Charity is never “fair”. The whole point of charity is to help those who cannot help themselves. The word Charity and the word Grace both come from the same Greek root word “Charis” (C-h-a-r-i-s). God’s charity is our grace. And he is generous with it.  

Instead of saying, “God is Unfair – That’s lame!”, we need to say “God is Unfair! Thank God!”  

Communion is all about remembering Jesus. And one of the greatest things about Jesus – is his teaching. Jesus redefines how we think about God – and thus, how we think about life. Thank God – that Jesus redefines fairness! Jesus tells us that God is unfair! Thank God!  

Prayer for the Bread and Wine  

  • Our Father – in heaven
  • Thank you for your generosity
  • Thank you for your charity
  • You do not treat us as our sins deserve
  • You do not treat us according to our hard work, for we could never work hard enough to make it into heaven.
  • You are generous and full of charity – to each and every one of us.
  • And your greatest act of generosity was pouring out the blood of your own son – for meFor each of us.
  • You are truly unfair – you are generous!
  • And we thank you for it!
  • We pray in the name of our generous Lord, Amen.           

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