Matthew’s parable of the Vineyard Workers (20:1-15) is hard to hear and even harder to preach about. It’s about the guy who hires workers at progressively later times, but everybody winds up getting the same pay. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
I flew home from Dallas early last Sunday morning because I knew the lines would be short. When I was directed to the right-hand line for final check-in and scanning, somebody from the left line was with the agent, and when he finished, the couple in front of me in the right lane walked up to the podium.
I was the only one there, but just before it was my turn, somebody else showed up in the left lane. When the couple from my lane finished, I shot up to the podium.
“You aren’t next,” I was told. “We go right to left, not right, right and left.” “But I was here before the other guy even showed up,” I shot back. “Doesn’t matter,” she said, “we always go right to left, and then left to right.”
I think I said “whatever” a couple of times, all the while insisting that the process wasn’t fair. That was right before I stormed off.
That’s when I heard the workers from Matthew’s story telling the owner, “But I was here before anybody else,” or, “This just isn’t fair.”
It certainly isn’t, is it? As it turns out, we know dangerously little about the ways of God.