John Claypool has said that too often we rely on the eyes of Justice, rather than looking through the lens of Generosity (according to this morning’s sermon).
I believe they are two sides of the same coin. That justice, in fact, is supposed to be generous. At least the justice I read about from the prophets, and hear in the words of Jesus. It is because God is generous, that God is fair–that it is because we do not deserve what we receive that God is just and generous—that it doesn’t really matter what we deserve.
I believe there is a difference between getting what we need and getting what we want. (I guess Fulghum was right.) The parable today of the workers in the vineyard each getting a day’s wage, regardless of the length of their days’ work. It causes us to balk—unfair! I believe in the absurdity of the story. The absurdity of what is fair–to us–finding definition in what others receive (or don’t receive). The absurdity in recalculating ‘need’ based on other people’s (un)deserving. The workers in the story all get what they need. Maybe they deserved more or maybe they deserved less. None of them walked away rich. They remained day laborers, their pockets contained a day’s pay. They received their daily bread. There is absurdity, I believe in even attempting to line up according to desert, or order of appearance. Last, first, doesn’t matter. What matters is that we come at all. And we receive what we need.
And maybe others are lazy. Maybe they don’t deserve subsidy after subsidy. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe generosity is what matters. And generosity in the form of provision of needs. I believe that we all deserve to have our needs met. And I believe that food, clean water, good education, safety, and adequate healthcare are needs. Generosity, therefore, might just be providing all of these things for all God’s children. Because it doesn’t matter at the end of the day our assessment of their deserving, but it does matter that we all are given, and help give to others, daily bread.