He answered one of them, “Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you
agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I
wanted to pay this last worker the same as you” (v.13-14).
That’s not fair. Why did she get a raise and I didn’t?
I do just as much work as she does!” “Why was
he chosen to lead the project when I’ve been here
I should get what I deserve is a work ethic that many of
us live by. So we easily identify with the first-called workers
in the parable that Jesus told in Matthew 20 (vv.1-2).
Those who worked all or most of the day—during the
hottest part of the day—believed that their pay would
exceed that of those who had worked an hour or so
(v.10). They thought: “Surely, if those who worked for
one hour received one denarius, I deserve more.”
But soon they realized that something was amiss. The
ones who began working at 9:00, noon, 3:00, 5:00,
and 6:00 all received one denarius (“daily wage”
vv.8-9). And sure enough, they too received one denarius
(v.10). They felt shortchanged (vv.11-12).
Imagine for a moment that instead of receiving a
coin, each of the workers had received their pay in an
envelope, which they opened in the privacy of their
homes. As they caught sight of the denarius tucked
within, their eyes would have surely brightened in
delight. For one denarius was the typical day’s wage for
an ordinary laborer. It was appropriate!
When we begin to live in the light of what I’ve done
and what I deserve—comparing ourselves to others, we’ll
start calculating our reward based on our efforts rather than on God’s grace.
May we proclaim as the apostle Paul did: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord,
who has given me strength to do His work. He considered me trustworthy and
appointed me to serve Him” (1 Timothy 1:12). His reward will be perfect just as
He is perfect.
—Poh Fang Chia
Read Romans 12:9-16 to see what should govern our relationship with
others—especially those with whom we work and serve.
How have you grumbled about God’s generosity to others? Why is it easy to
think that another believer in Jesus has received greater blessings than