Today I have a treat for you. (Begin passing out the treats, commenting as you go.) "There's one for you, two for you, one for you. Here are three for you, and one for you." (Continue until all of the children have been given one or more treats.)
Did you notice that I gave some children one treat, others received two, and some even got three treats? I imagine that some of you were thinking to yourself, "That isn't fair! He gave some children three treats and I only got one!" Well, maybe it wasn't fair, but they were my treats -- don't I have the right to give them to whomever I please?
Jesus told a story about a landowner who was hiring men to work in his vineyard. He hired some of them early in the morning, some in the middle of the day, and some he hired just before quitting time.
When it was time to pay the workers, he paid them all the same. The workers who were hired early in the morning began to complain, "Hey! That's not fair! You paid the workers who worked only one hour the same as those of us who worked all day."
The owner of the vineyard said, "I am not being unfair to you. I paid you what I agreed to pay you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Are you jealous because I am generous?"
What is the point of the story that Jesus told? The point is that there are some people who trust in Jesus and serve him all the days of their life. What is their reward? Their reward is eternal life in heaven.
There are other people who live most of their life in sin. They don't serve the Lord at all. Then, just before their life comes to an end, they put their trust in Jesus and accept him as their Savior. What is their reward? Their reward is the same as one who has served the Lord all their life -- eternal life in heaven.
Is that fair? We might not think it's fair, but if we got what was fair, none of us would go to heaven. The Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I don't know about you, but I'm glad that God doesn't give me what is fair, but gives me his love and grace, in spite of what I deserve!
Father, we thank you for your love and grace that gives us everlasting life -- in spite of what we deserve. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.