Summary: Equality. A contrast between the world and the Kingdom

Series: The Parables of Christ

Topic: I Have A Dream

Matthew 20:1-16

Introduction: Crying Foul

It’s not fair

Not a typical family unless you hear the words "It’s not fair"

"She always goes first"

"He always gets more"

"He never gets into trouble"

[life experiences]

Crying foul is not limited to children.


"but Suzie’s dad lets her stay out late"

"All the guys are going to the party"

Even as adults

"Jones’s have a boat. How come we don’t?"

"Jones’s are getting a new home. How come we aren’t?"

"It’s not fair. Bob got a raise and I didn’t"

"It’s not fair. Jane got a promotion, and she’s been with the company less time"

"Everybody’s getting ahead, but me."

[speeding ticket illustration. I got the ticket, not the other guy]

Saying "The Grass is greener on the other side"

The grass was greener on the other side, so I jumped over the fence...only to find out I was standing on the septic tank.

Life is just not fair. And truth be told; neither is God.

We never seem to get ahead, and there’s always someone ahead of us. Jesus addresses this in the Kingdom of God.

"For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last." Matthew 20:1-16


I. Fairness & Equality

Everybody wants fairness and equality

-driving force behind Napster trial

-driving force behind Microsoft trial

-cry of displaced, impoverished former Enron employees

-Olympic figure skating fiasco [flawless Canadian performance]

-Beckoning cry almost forty years ago "I have a dream"

Yet by this parable Christ demonstrated that the Kingdom of God is anything but fair.

How fair can it be for men to labor all day in heat, suffering exhaustion and make no more than the man who works for only a couple of hours?

But the inequality of the Kingdom stands in stark contrast to the inequality of the world.

II. Contrast Between World’s Unfairness & Kingdom Of God’s Unfairness

Contrast #1

World: Everyone labors according to their abilities. Some get left out (incompetent, slothful workers get fired)

Kingdom: Everyone is purposed for participation

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." John 3:16-17 (RSV)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him." Ephesians 1:3-4 (RSV)

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren." Romans 8:29 (RSV)

Contrast #2

World: Slackers fall by the wayside.

Kingdom: There is always room for more

"And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled." Luke 14:23 (RSV)

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