One of the things that really gets me annoyed is when somebody jumps a queue. If I have been waiting in a line for ages, and someone further up the line sneaks in, it can be infuriating! Wait your turn!
The gospel parable today annoys me as well. How can one who has worked so hard all day get the same wages as one who has joined in the last hour? What is that all about! Those scholars who commentate of the scriptures tell us that a parable is meant to get under our skin, to make the listener think, to challenge our comfortable notion of life, and how it is being lived. This one does the job!
The answer of the landowner is worth noting, he responds; why get angry because I am generous? In other words, I am not like you! This is so true of our life of faith. Now and again I can find myself judging people by my own poor standards and not understanding the generous goodness of God, who is not like me.
I think wrongly sometimes that it can be unfair that being good is not a prerequisite for being rewarded. But doing good, is the natural obligation of one who professes faith in Christ. We don’t do good just to get God’s attention, and we don’t do good just to get back something. We do good, because Jesus commands us to! He reminds us this often when he tells us to love God and our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus does not say love God so as to advance in his estimation; God loves us unconditionally anyway. His love is one that calls us to love, to follow his example, pouring out our lives for others as a direct response to being loved.
God loves generously, and calls people to faith in him. Our part of this is not to judge who is worthy or not of God’s love and attention, our part is to serve God’s word by embracing it as fully as we can as we live. When we fall down we can approach the throne of God’s infinite mercy, and seek God’s generous loving nature found there in abundance.