What’s one thing that you wish you could change about your life? What’s one thing that you wish wasn’t true about your life right now?
Some of you are thinking, “I can only pick one thing?” If you’re like me and had a magic wand you can think of a couple of things you would change.
Maybe it’s big stuff like your health, having a child, getting a job, or healing your marriage.
Maybe it’s small stuff like wishing you had hair again, a little less weight, had a newer car, a different house, or could take a trip to Disney.
Whatever you wish you could change I bet you can also think of lots of people who have what you want. I’m not talking about just one person you have a list.
And what do we do with our list? We take it to our magic wand and say, “Magic Wand, you’ve given all of these people what I want. It’s not fair! Why don’t you love me like you love them? Why did you make my sister so skinny? Why does my brother have to be so smart and rich? Why has everyone in my small group gone to Disney but me? Why does everyone else have a home and we’re still renting? Why am I the only one paying on student loans? Come to think of it…Magic Wand you aren’t a good magic wand. I think you’re broken!”
Of course we don’t call our magic wand…Magic Wand. No we call it, “God” or “Jesus.” We expect God to act like our magic wand and grant our wishes disguised as prayers.
When God doesn’t answer these prayers we get angry.
Why are we angry? We feel entitled. We think God owes us. We don’t deserve to go without. It’s not fair. God isn’t being as good to me as He is to someone else.
We have a list of things in which God has been unfair to us. He was unfair in the personality he gave us. He was unfair in the parents we had. He was unfair in the way we grew up.
Why can’t God just be fair?
The Vineyard Owner.
Jesus actually told a story about this in Matthew 20. He told a story about a landowner who had a vineyard. He needed some help so he went and hired some day laborers. Then he goes back out and finds some other people looking for work at 9am. He goes back at noon, 3pm, and 5pm and continues to hire more laborers.
At the end of the day the landowner is going to settle up and pay them for their work. He starts with those who began at 5pm and pays them for a full days wage even though they only worked an hour or two.
Now imagine if you had been part of the first group who worked for a full day (which is what you agreed to do) and you saw that what would you be thinking? You’d probably be thinking, “Oh man! I’m going to get even more. If he is paying them that much for an hour’s worth of work he surely will pay me more.”
Or you are getting angry at how unfairly you are being treated.
The landowner keeps on paying people. He pays the person who started at 3pm, noon, 9am and they all get the same thing…a days wage. The landowner gets to those who were the first ones he hired and paid them the same thing as he paid everyone else regardless that they’ve worked the longest. It’s what they agreed to but they weren’t happy. They started to complain about how unfair the pay scale was.
I would feel the same way. Others worked just for an hour and I worked all day long for the same money. It’s easy to see why they would feel it was unfair.
But notice the landowners response to their claims of unfairness…
The thing we should all be careful of is the fact that our list of God’s unfairness to us only focuses on what we don’t have that “everyone” else has. We forget God’s kindness to us.
Our lists never include what we have that others don’t.
We sleep perfectly fine at night knowing there are people who don’t enjoy some of the unfair blessings we have.
The first workers hired forgot about how blessed they were to even have work for the day. They were blessed to have an employer who would actually pay them and not take advantage of them. I’m sure there were days where they did the work and didn’t get paid. Here are employees getting the wage they agreed to and were able to provide for their family. Who knows if they will have work tomorrow? They forgot about all of the other people they knew that didn’t have work that day. They couldn’t see how blessed they were. All they could see was unfairness. How someone had more for less.
Where has God been “unfair” to you? What are those things that He has given you that puts you in the blessed category? What are the things you have been given that others haven’t?
Do you feel it’s unfair you have a driver’s license?
Do you feel that it’s unfair that you have a job? Every week someone asks me to pray for them about an upcoming job interview. Once you lose your job you instantly understand how valuable it truly was. When you are desperate for work to provide for your family questions of meaning and purpose don’t seem like the big deal they did when you had a job.
Do you feel it’s unfair that you have a spouse?
Do you feel it’s unfair that you have a child? So many people wish they had one child, but you have 3! Is that fair?
Do you feel it’s unfair that you can talk to your mom anytime you want?
Do you feel it’s unfair that you can walk up stairs or bend over and tie your shoes?
Do you feel that it’s unfair that your parents can remember your name because they don’t suffer from Alzheimer’s?
God has been so unfair to each one of us. If you’re reading this it’s because God has been extremely unfair to you.
We don’t mind unfairness as long as it’s in our favor. For some reason that kind of unfairness doesn’t seem to bother us.
God has been generous with each one of us…in different ways. When we recognize God’s generosity in it’s various forms it should cause us to be a bit more humble and grateful.
When we are blinded by entitlement we struggle to see God’s generosity.
God has a different and unique plan He is working out in each one of our lives. If we are honest God has given us so many things that we don’t deserve. So many things that He didn’t give to other people…it was an act of God’s great love and generosity.
We mess up when we lose sight of God’s goodness to us. It takes maturity to recognize His different gifts to us and to be thankful. A deep person can go one further and be grateful for what God has done for others.
Do you want to know if you are growing spiritually? One way to tell is if you can truly be happy for someone who gets what you wished you had. That’s a deep person. That’s maturity. That’s spiritual growth. (Romans 12:15)
I want to challenge you to think about all of the ways God has been “unfair” to you today. Then make sure to thank the One from whom all blessings flow.