Human logic is somewhat incompatible with grace. Sayings like “You get what you pay for” and “Earn your keep” make sense from the perspective of rational thinking but in those times when you get more than what you pay for or earn more than your keep, human logic tends not to be pleased. More often than not, this tends to be in the context of comparison.
In the parable of the vineyard workers (Matthew 20:1-16), a landowner hired people to work for him at different times of the day. The first batch of workers resumed at 6a.m, the second at 9am and subsequent batches at noon, 3pm and 5pm. When the time came to pay wages, the landowner started with the last workers, paying them a day’s wages (the same as those who had been working since 6am). Now you can imagine that the earliest workers were not pleased with this at all and they did not hesitate to make this clear.
What struck me about this passage was the fact that the 6am workers had agreed with the landowner on the wages they would be paid. They were satisfied with it until they compared it with the wages of the 5pm workers. I reiterate, in the context of human logic and rational thinking, the 6am workers had a valid point, especially where fairness and equity are concerned. However, the Kingdom of God is not one of fairness alone but one of grace as well. If God was just interested in fairness, we would all be deserving of death. That is why grace is such a beautiful thing.
Now I’m quite sure the 6am workers would not have had an issue with the situation if they had been 5pm workers. But imagine if they could have been satisfied with their own portion and maybe even happy for the 5pm workers. The 6am workers didn’t know where the 5pm workers were coming from; perhaps one’s child was sick and needed tending to the whole day, maybe another was helping a friend in dire need. The reason is irrelevant; what matters is that the landowner (God in this parable) saw it fit to give the 5pm workers that wage. In the context of Kingdom thinking, that should make the situation okay for everyone.
Many times, we compare ourselves with other people thinking we deserve better. Sometimes we are correct as far as rationality is concerned. But we become ungrateful when we see them getting more than what we think they deserve, especially when it’s the same as our portion. I think this means that we don’t have the right perspective. When we do our work as unto the Lord and live according to our God-given purpose, the need for comparison lessens and we may even be free to celebrate the grace of God in the lives of others.
Understand that this message is as much for me as it is for you.