A Fair Share

I find it interesting that each of the servants in the parable of the talents received a different amount, “each according to their ability.”  Honestly the Master was generous with all of them. Estimates range on the actual value of the “talent” because talentis a weight, not a type of coin. So the question is, “Was it a talent of gold, silver or bronze?” However, the answer isn’t that important because any way it’s interpreted the value is well into the 10,000’s. Yes, the master generously gave to each of the three slaves.  But I have to wonder, “Did the one who received only one talent feel ripped off?”

Even though logically all the money belonged to the master to begin with and he had no obligation to entrust any of it to his servants for their use and investment, I can still see myself feeling a bit jealous of the guy with five talents, or even the one who got two. Logic doesn’t resolve my inner sense of equity that demands, “If you’re going to give, then do so equally.” This is the mantra of our days here on earth–As little Sally says in the Peanuts Christmas special, “All I want is what I’ve got coming to me.  All I want is my fair share.” Don’t give to someone else and not give me an equitable portion.

And yet Jesus taught very specifically against this human reasoning. In the parable of the landowner, this issue came up, when the men hired at the end of the day received equal compensation to those who had worked from dawn till dusk. When those first hired complained, the owner reminded them that he had been faithful to their agreement and paid them what was fair. What did it matter to them if he was generous with the other guys who had arrived later? Why did they demand that his generosity be meted out in equal measure? On another occasion, a man in the crowd asked Jesus to require that his brother give him an equal share of the inheritance. Instead, Jesus warned, “Beware of jealousy and all kind of covetousness.” Our notion of equality comes into conflict with God’s standard and grace. Jesus called it covetousness, not equity!

If we are really honest with ourselves, the last thing we want is “our fair share.” Because what we deserve is death and separation from God for eternity. We certainly don’t want that “fair share.” And even in this life what we claim as “our fair share,” is generally the better portion. Our ideas of what we deserve have been warped by the deception of sin!

Oh, that we might see this truth from God’s perspective!  Jesus has already taken what we deserve. He has suffered our “fair share.”  And now, anything and everything he gives us is pure, unmerited grace! Never mind what he gives someone else! Let me rejoice in what He gives me…for it is far better than “what I’ve got coming to me.”


One Response to "A Fair Share"

  • Wow, I’ve been reflecting on those same thoughts Tabitha as I’ve been reading thru the gospels simultaneously. And it is so true that if all were fair.. we’d all be in Hell for all eternity!! Puts this all in perspective. You did a great job of teaching on this truth of “fairness”. It is a truth that the world will never get right.

    1 Teresa said this (November 14, 2012 at 2:56 am) Reply

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