The ultimate story about unfairness …

This week’s story from the Gospel of Matthew makes for startling reading, as Jesus tells the ultimate story about unfairness.  The owner of a vineyard hired workers at various points of the day, so when the time came to distribute the wages, there were some who had worked the whole day after an early start, and others who had only worked for a single hour.  I am sure we can sympathise with the outrage of those diligent workers who toiled away for the whole day, only to watch those who had arrived an hour before being given exactly the same wages as themselves.

In the story, those who had worked all day were rather resentful that they only got the same wage, and I think many of us would be sympathetic – after all it doesn’t seem fair, and we rather expect God to conform to our sense of fairness –  those who worked harder for longer should get a better reward – shouldn’t they?

It can be a shock to discover that there is no divine preference for those putting in the hours in the vineyard, that everyone, whatever their status, whatever their levels of diligence or usefulness are equally valued.  It can be a shock to realise that our value is not measured in what we do or how hard we work, but that every person is precious, loved and treasured equally.  God really doesn’t have favourites.  Saint Augustine said that ‘God loves each of us as if there were only one of us’. It really is impossible to meet someone who is not loved deeply and intensely by God. Recognising the intrinsic value in ourselves and each other is how we grow and flourish.

Of Human nature just aware
There added the Divine
Brief struggle for capacity
The power to contain

Is always as the contents
But give a Giant room
And you will lodge a Giant
And not a smaller man
Emily Dickinson

 

 

 

 

April Beckerleg

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