Life Isn’t Fair!

“I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.” Matthew 20:14 NKJV

“Life isn’t always fair. But God is, every time, all the time!”

My thoughts today recognize that “life isn’t fair!”

Unfair! That’s what the men in Jesus’ story felt, and said, who had labored all day while those who were hired late in the day received exactly the same wages. Read Matthew 20:1-16 NLT. Jesus draws a conclusion with which you are probably uncomfortable. “So the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” (vs. 16).  How is that fair? We would assume the first should be first, and the last would be – well, last!

Probably one of the important questions of everyday life is this: do you trust God to be fair? When Abraham was seeking God to spare Sodom, he affirmed his trust by these words – a rhetorical question, the answer assumed to be obvious – “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25 NIV. Of course, God will! And He will always do right by you.

Ever watched two children dividing something that they both want? Inevitably, one or the other will seek an advantage and the other will cry “unfair! One mom was wise enough to avert such a problem by having one child divide the dessert and the other one choose the first piece. It is said that dessert was evenly and equally divided down to the smallest molecule! Sounds like ourselves, doesn’t it?

Unfair! That’s a familiar exclamation or emotion anyone might say or feel. From a child’s earliest years there seems to be an innate sense of fairness, not so much in evidence when you are the one getting the best deal but certainly when someone else is and you are not. We never seem to outgrow the need to be first, have the most, the best, or the biggest, do we? And when you don’t and someone else does that you don’t think deserves it as much as you, do you feel that is unfair?

Life isn’t fair! And you will be seriously disappointed if you expect it to be. September 11 will long stand as a stained date on America’s calendar when a stunned nation wondered how a few crazed religious zealots could take 3,000 lives who had done nothing worse than go to work that morning. As a pastor, I have often heard people in heartbreaking circumstances proclaim in their tears, “Life isn’t fair.” And they have every right to feel that way. An innocent person dies, and the careless driver lives. That’s not fair. A good person trying to live right faces unimagined difficulties, while a lesser person lives carefree. That’s not fair. A hard working person never seems to get a break; but another stumbles into unbelievably good fortune.  And of course, life isn’t always fair. But God is! Always has been; always will be. See 2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV.

David voices his anguish when the wicked prosper but the righteous suffer. He admits being troubled by what appears to be the inequities of life, “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold . . when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Read Psalm 73:1-28 NIV. David’s understanding came as will yours, “Then I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”

One day the scales will be balanced; the wrongs will be made right; the innocent will be vindicated and the guilty punished. There is a sanctuary where God makes life make sense. Calvary wasn’t fair. The innocent dying for the sinful, but for the sake of loving you – and saving you – God counted it a small price to pay. See 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV.

My prayer for you today is to trust in the goodness and greatness of a righteous God.