10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
Jesus did a lot of things and taught a lot of things that confounded his fellow Jews. This story is one we can easily identify with. The workers who had worked a full day in the field saw all of these others (who had worked a lot less in some cases) getting paid the same amount that they were told they would get paid for a full day. They started assuming that the owner had decided to give everyone a raise. When he got to them and gave them exactly what he had promised, their “fairness” alarm went off, and they complained. Jesus here is telling us that God’s sense of fairness is not the same as ours. His grace is scandalous in its generosity. If we stop and think for a minute, we will find ourselves grateful that we don’t get the “wages” we deserve from God. And that’s a real good thing.