Jesus said to his disciples, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 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 the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
This was a bit painful for me, because I identify myself as one of the first labourers. Too often I seek more than what was agreed upon. It is not “fair”, but it may very well be right. Sadly, what is right might rarely be fair, or at least how we understand fair.
How most people I know regard fairness would follow the anecdote, “You get what you deserve.” If you do 50% of the work, you deserve 50% of the yield. If you do 2%, you deserve 2%. If you get more or less than what you deserve, than it is not fair. However, we look at it as if the world revolves around us. “WE DESERVE THIS!,” we yell to no one in particular. “THIS IS NOT FAIR!” But if we take the golden rule to do to others how we would like to be done, it is right.
Most of us look to increase our own stature regardless where everyone else lies. If we give back, it is usually out of charity. It is similar to a quote from Kevin Spacey where he said, “If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” (1) Maybe we should all take that response.
But maybe, we should be even more radical. Before we get to the top, what if we helped others get there first? Maybe helping others even at the cost that we may never get there ourselves? This is a scary thought for me even as I type this. My inner soul is screaming, “What about me? Don’t I deserve my day on top?” Maybe. Maybe not.
It costs a lot to truly help people. The biggest cost is the risk of being let down. As I am in a place of figuring out my dreams in life, I struggle with the idea of being satisfied with self as opposed to satisfaction with helping others. I’m sure it is at least one of the struggles of Jubilee.
What about you?
(1) http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000228/bio – read August 21, 2013 at 11:51pm CST