“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Matthew 20: 13 – 16
Equality means different things to different people. For someone who has little, who has been downtrodden, equality is a great thing. Equality means they will get a bigger slice of the pie, better treatment and more opportunities. But for someone who is well-off and privileged equality is a disaster. It means loosing their advantages, sharing what they have, and taking on a more humble role. It’s no surprise that issues around inequality and fair treatment are some of the most contentious political issues in any society.
But it’s the same with spiritual equality. God is the ultimate egalitarian: in God’s eyes we are all equal. But that can mean different things to different people. For people on the margins: the sinners, outcasts and misfits, this is a great thing. In God’s eyes they are just as good as anyone. For the people on the inside: the righteous, the well-to-dos and Churchy types, this can be a bitter pill to swallow. It means that no matter how many Bible verses you memories, how lofty your prayers are, or how squeaky clean your record is, none of that is going to get you ahead. Equality often requires a deal of humility.
But in the long run this equality is good for everyone. Because it means that our value is not in what we’ve done, it comes from the generosity of a God who loves us unconditionally. This may mean losing the things that make you feel special now, but what we gain is much more valuable.
Prayer: Loving God, thank you that your love for me is not conditional, there’s nothing I need to do to earn your care and blessing. Help me to accept others with the same generous heart that you show to me.
Action: Try to notice when you are judgemental today. Remind yourself that in God’s eyes they matter just as much as you do.