That’s Not FAIR! Part II of “Backseat conversations on the way to Heaven”
Backseat Conversations on the Way to Heaven
That’s not FAIR!!
† IHS †
As we journey together, may we know the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit, the peace of Jesus Christ, and look forward to the feast with our Heavenly Father.
Two Candy Bars and some Chuckles
Last week we started on this path, a sermon series that will explore the journey of our lives. It is a parable of sorts, comparing that journey, where we will end up in heaven, with our journey as children, on the way to an Aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, or maybe our Grandfather’s for the party on Christmas Eve.
Last week we looked a little at the squabbles that can happen, as you jam three young children in the backseat of a 1970 Dodge Dart, and heard the conversation that would ensue when my dad would tell us to “get along back there.”
Well, today we continue that journey, hearing another conversation.
My dad had a lot of common sense. He knew that If we were eating something, our mouths couldn’t open. And on so many of these trips he had stashed our favorite candies in the car. A Chocolate Charleston Chew for one of my siblings, a Chunky chocolate bar for the other, and because I was allergic to chocolate, I got a pack of chuckles.
This worked until one day, when one looked at other’s candy bar, and saw a long narrow bar – nearly 10 inches long! She looked at my Chuckles and saw six pieces of candy, each about an inch long. And she looked at her chunky bar, 3 inches by 3 inches and proceeded to yell out,
“It’s not fair!”
She didn’t see the weight of the candy bars as equal, or that hers was three times as thick and wide, or that all of the candy cost the same amount. Explaining that to her, well, anyone ever try to point out such logic to an upset young child.
It wasn’t fair as she saw it, and when two brothers have to share and sacrifice their favorite candy, and they do understand the logic, well, now the journey becomes more complicated!
But we are often like little children, complaining that life isn’t fair.
We end up just like the crew who sweated all day in the hot sun, and didn’t get a larger payday than the guys who put in an hour.
We need to realize the blessing in that… we need to see God’s view of this, so we can rejoice in how God cares for His people.
Why did they cry it wasn’t fair?
If Jesus’ parable were told today, a number of us would probably be telling the employees who broke their back all day long to contact a lawyer, or to call Handel on the Law. Certainly there is a law out there, that demands the same exact hourly wage for all employees.
Some of us might take the Master’s side, saying that he can do whatever he wants, after all it is his money.
The story might even go viral on Facebook, and there would be interviews on Youtube, and maybe even an appearance on some daytime talk show like Dr. Phil, or Dr. Oz, or Judge Judy.
After all, it’s not like it’s fair, what this employer did.
What did our Old Testament reading say?
His Ways aren’t our ways
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Could it be that this Master’s goal wasn’t about getting the vineyard harvested?
Could it be that he was more concerned about the people in his life, the people of his community, than he was about making money?
Think about this, he started at 6 am, then returned to hire workers at 9, 12, and 3 o’clock, each time he saw workers standing around, doing nothing. The first time – he negotiated a wage that was fair and equitable – after that, the scriptures tell us he simply promised to be fair.
It is that last time, at five o’clock, which he didn’t just see some workers, the Greek word there is the root word from where we get heuristics. Anybody here watch CSI, or NCIS? Heuristics is the science of finding that which was hidden, not in sight. He went to them, found them, and hear again the description of His action,
“6 “At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ 7 “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’ “The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’ “
It was his desire, not to gain a harvest, but to provide for the people what they needed, to be part of His work, His life.
And so it is, with the kingdom of heaven.
God would provide for us what we need.
As a pastor, I’m often approached with the question of who will be in heaven. What about the people that come to know God’s love on their death bed, minutes before they pass away. Do they get into heaven, or does God punish them for all the years they refused to follow Him, and they don’t get to go into heaven?
Usually the question involves the people most people would consider beyond any chance to be saved. Would God let them into heaven, if they repented at the last moment?
If I answer in the affirmative, knowing that the power of God is so incredible to transform us, sometimes I hear those words, “But that’s not fair pastor!”
You mean that mass murdered could get the same blessing that those of us who’ve been in church every Sunday… ok one Sunday a month get? They get the same size mansion as those of us who served as preschool teachers, or elders, or deacons?
Yes, and that is the incredible blessing of your working alongside God in His harvest. They are blessed to come into our family, to have the grace and mercy and peace that God has desired for all of us.
Remember again – what the Old Testament said,
7 Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. 8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
There is God’s goal, to take all of us, who struggle with doing what is loving, what is merciful, what is right, and can’t. There is His love, for He finds us, this Father/master who will bring us into His marvelous life’s work.
That is better than just being fair from a human perspective, it God being extravagant in his love. This is what we call justification – God making us right, forgiving our sins, and sanctification, God setting us apart making us His co-workers in His work. If God were fair, would He share with us His desires, His life? Would He trust us enough to serve alongside Him?
God is more than just fair; He is extravagant beyond all measure.
God, bringing us into His ministry to the world, making us part of the family.
All this because Jesus Christ, true God, true man, didn’t give a rip about what was fair, and died that we could all become the children of God.
That’s what the kingdom of God is about; His love for us, making it known and seeing it transform us.
This is a love that brings mercy and peace into our lives, a peace beyond measure, the peace we know and celebrate here, together. For we are His people. AMEN?
Posted on September 21, 2014, in Sermons and tagged Candy, Candy Bars, children, Dr. Phil, EEO, harvest, Jesus, jesus christ, Judge Judy, Lawyers, Ministry, perception, RIght, That's not Fair, Wages. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.