Have you ever caught yourself mumbling under your breath, or maybe even complaining loudly, "They don't deserve that! They didn't do anything to earn it!" It's pretty common- from an early age we learn what is fair and what is unfair...and we are usually pretty quick to point out any "unfairness" toward us. It's just the way we are, we like things to be even, deserved...especially when it comes to other people's earnings. Here is a great example from the Old Testament:
"Then all the corrupt and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, 'Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may take his wife and children and leave.' But David said, 'You shall not do so my brothers, with what the Lord has given us; he has preserved us and handed over to us the raiding party that attacked us. Who would listen to you in this matter? For the share of the one who goes down into the battle shall be the same as the share of the one who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.' " 1 Samuel 30: 22-24
This story takes place toward the end of David's time in the wilderness, hiding from Saul. He and his men had been out and the town that they were calling home had been raided. The Amalekites had stolen their possessions and taken their wives and children hostage. Upon discovering this, David and his men pursue the Amalekites, defeat them and reclaim their families and possessions. But during the pursuit, many men had grown tired and could not continue, so they were left behind. The men that finished the mission weren't willing to share their spoils of war with the men that did not fight. Fair enough, right? Yes, but David understood that fairness could be divisive- he would be showing favoritism to the men that helped and morale could be ruined because of jealousy.
I'm all too familiar with this kind of scenario. As a young child, I'm sure I let my parents know "That's not fair" on many occasions. And I can still find myself wanting to say those words again. Whether it involves work, grades, competition, or even worse: religion!
It can be quite unsettling to think that we who go to church every week and put money in the offering plate, volunteer with the church, and even go on mission trips are going to receive the exact same reward as those who have merely professed a faith and trust in Christ. Honestly, it's not fair. And I am very thankful that it's not about fairness, earnings, or deserving because if it were, I wouldn't be expecting what I hope for.
As you think of what it means to not complain about unfairness, read what Jesus has to say on the subject by reading Matthew 20: 1-16.