Have you ever felt hurt by someone else’s success, their good fortune, their lucky break? You work so hard, but no one seems to notice. Suddenly, someone new comes in and receives all the praise, becomes employee of the month, perhaps even receives the bonus you were hoping for. In the famous parable about the vineyard owner and the workers (Mt 20:1–16), Jesus tells a story about such an unfairness. In the parable there are several groups of laborers, some work the whole day, some only half, and some just an hour or two; but when the work is done, the owner pays them all the same amount. And, like a lot of us, those who worked the whole day are upset because it feels unfair. And yet, in the teaching of our Lord, that seems to be the point—and the blessing.
You are the true gift of God.
Let me not look to the gifts or achievements of others with envy or longing,
but open my eyes to the abundance of blessings I have been given through your love.
And let me rest in the grace of knowing that you are always with me,
no matter what sorrows or joys I experience.
You are there beside me, which is more than I could ask—
but exactly what I need.
Sit down with your Bible and read the parable of the laborers and the landowner, then spend some time contemplating the question of fairness that is at the heart of this parable. Is there something in your own life that feels unfair? How does this parable speak to that experience? Let the landowner’s words about envy and generosity become a lens for how you look at your own experiences. Last, make a list of three ways that life has been unfair in your favor, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s generous grace.