A common complaint is life is not fair. Typically when a person thinks this way, he believes that he has not received his due. For instance, more money, a big house, a car, good grades in school, the prize in a sports competition. If another person gets what you think you deserve, it seems obvious that life isn't fair.
Sometimes the reason for the complaint, life is not fair, is compassion. Look, people in the street who have no food or home. It is not fair for some people to not have the basic necessities while others have plenty of wealth and refuse to share it.
However, in both cases, it is not true that life isn't fair, because all things in life are under the authority of God and God is just. The Lord told the prophet Jeremiah, "I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these things I delight" (Jeremiah 9:23-24). You may not understand the judgment of God in the short term. Sometimes it seems that this person has more than he deserves while someone else has less. But we can trust God that His justice in the long run is perfect and no one can escape it.
Everyone has their problems and challenges in this life. When someone else has something we want, it is difficult to see them as lacking in anything. But it is best not to think that other people and who deserve or not deserve.
In our text for today, Paul says it is better to think like athletes. "Know ye not that they which run in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that ye may obtain." Which means, we will prepare for battle. We will train for the race. And in the struggle, we are not concerned with the advantages of our competition, we will focus on the prize.
Of course, in a sense, our prize is guaranteed. We all have the promise of eternal life in Christ and the Holy Spirit active in our hearts. As Saint Paul says, "All were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." Also we were all baptized in water and the Word of God, and at that time received the Holy Spirit and the new life in Christ. Furthermore all receive the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of faith.
However, some of the Israelites, baptized in the cloud and the sea, fed by the same material and spiritual food and drink the same spiritual and material to others, were lost in the desert for lack of faith. For us, the struggle is to remain faithful and show mercy God has shown to others.
Because we do not work for wages that we deserve, but to achieve the destiny that God has won for us in the suffering and death of Christ on the cross. This is that workers in the Gospel for today (Matthew 20:1-16) did not understand. God in His mercy, in his generosity, has promised the same reward for all called to work in his vineyard, no matter the duration.
No matter how long our lives, if we remain in faith, we will achieve the same prize, no one deserves. God has purchased this gift for us with the blood of Christ. But we must avoid the traps of him who would rob us of this hope and make the best use of our time and our talents in this world.
Thank God, if we can, not by our own strength, but with the help of the Holy Spirit if we remain faithful in receiving the Word and the sacraments. Amen.
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