MATTHEW 25:14-30

"God is unfair!" He repeated it strongly to a group.

--What would you say? How would you reply?

--My reply, "God is most fair - life is not, for it can be very unfair, at times." But not God!

--I've found God is most loving, merciful, gracious.

--Sure, we have ills, trials, and little children do die of dread diseases, but are sure of heaven.

--Did not God send Jesus to show His love?

--Demonstrating His deity and mercy, to heal, bless and even to take our place, be crucified, arise!

--He is able to fit us for heaven by a new birth.

--Indeed, I would declare that God is surely fair.

It is life that is unfair. Like terrorist attacks.

--That took down two New York World Trade Centers - hit the Pentagon - that unforgettable 9/11/2001.

--Thousands lost their lives; lives changed for many left behind - but a loving God and people were in the midst, caring for the suffering of those left.

--Life is unfair, not God, when innocent, unwanted, and unborn are aborted, even before birth.

--Unfair when Fanny Crosby was accidentally blinded a few days after birth, but what hymns she wrote!

--Or when Joni Eareckson Tada was paralyzed at only 17, in a diving accident - but glorifies God!

"God is not unfair. How can He forget your hard work for Him, or forget the way you show your love for Him .. by helping His children" (Heb. 6:10 LB).

--God is fair! "Not unfair." We better believe it.

--He loves all alike, by equal access to His grace.

--God sends "sun and rain on the just and unjust" we read in Matthew 5:45. But are we fair with God?

I understood the feeling of that man who stated, "God is unfair," for I once felt Matthew 25 was unfair.

--Jesus says a master gave "talents," to one man he gave five; another two; another, one (v 16-18).

--Why not all alike? Or give all of them five?

--The "master" gives and "judges fairly" according to our ability (I Peter 2:23). And Peter knew.

--Jesus forgave Peter's denial; used Peter greatly.

You know Matthew 25. A landlord goes away awhile.

--Gave instructions, and "goods - talents," as money, abilities, or "gifts," to be used for him.

--To use wisely. To gain others. Use our ability.

--All gifts were different - for they were different.

--Really, if all got the same, soon some would surely have more than others, anyway. That's life.

In Luke 19:13 he says, "Put this money (our life), to work, until I come back." The landlord is the Lord.

--He knows what "each servant could do" (v 15).

Five talents would be too much for some.

--One or two talents, way too little, for others.

--There was no envy, jealousy, or enmity, of talents.

As our "landlord" is Jesus, soon He's coming back.

--To see how we are using the "talents or gifts" that He has given each of us. We all must give account.

--How did they do? The "five talent man" gained five.

--The two talent man, he gained another two.

--Both of them doubled. And both rewarded equally.

--Both heard, "Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of the Lord," (v 21, 23).

--So in little or much, God rewards faithfulness.

--These servants found no fault with gift or reward.

We see how that God is illustrating His faithfulness.

--That it is God who is fair. Life isn't fair.

On a Holy Lands Tour we visited Izmir, Turkey, the beautiful city on the Sea - the Biblical, Smyrna.

--There we learned about Polycarp (69-155), whose life has impressed me to study it further.

--He is one of the Apostolic Fathers; taught by John, the beloved disciple, who was taught by Jesus.

--As Bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp won many to Christ.

--So many he was doomed to die - unless he denied Jesus - "Swear by Caesar; curse Christ, or die."

--Look at his reply, "For 86 years I have served Christ, and He has done me no wrong; how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" Lived, died, for Jesus!

--Amid flames, Polycarp knew God is more than fair!

--It is the world that is unfair, as martyrs know.

In Acts 12:2 wicked king Herod "killed James, brother of John with the sword," but Peter was spared!

--Both Apostles, one taken, one spared. Is it fair?

--Was one Apostle better than the other? Hardly.

--It shows how life is. That God is sovereign!

--God knows what is best. What he allows for us.

--God writes with a pen that never blots.

--God speaks with a voice that never slips.

--God acts with a heart, mind and love most wise.

--And God is fair! "He does all things well."

--It just means James got to heaven before Peter!

--But Peter soon followed James, to Jesus also.

--Friend, God's wisdom is wiser than our own.

I was invited to an ordination at Olney Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia of a fine man from Toronto.

--Graduated from Princeton Seminary without a college degree, only one ever - his abilities so good.

--Church leaders from all over participated.

--Had an equally dedicated, lovely, talented wife.

--Great evangelistic expectations were predicted.

--But a few years later, he left the ministry!

--Why? I do not know. I do know God is fair.

--But life is not. Nor Satan. Nor a few people.

--They crucified Jesus - greatest Minister of all.

I often read Isaac Watts' great hymns - a fine English preacher, but his looks unattractive to some.

--Isaac Watts never married, so unattractive.

--But could he preach! Win souls! Write hymns!

--And lovingly care for his congregation.<,/p>

--He never felt God was unfair, but glorified God!

Remember this third servant "buried his talent."

--He "hid it." Don't hide - use God's gifts.

--Nobody knew he had it. Just kept it to himself.

--But he lost it! His master gave it to another!

--So let's use it, or we may lose God's gifts.

I've spent time at Billy Graham's Crusades, office.

--He grew up on a farm - suppose he'd stayed on it?

--Nothing wrong with farming, but what a loss to the world, or to thousands he won to Christ if he had!

--Billy Graham did God's will. Shall we, also?

By God's grace we are to use the gifts God gives.

--It is when we don't use, or waste, them that displeases God. Jesus called him, "an unprofitable servant" and "wicked and lazy servant" (v 26).

--Because he "was afraid, and hid his talent."

--Nor should we be jealous, or envious, of another.

--God is fair with us. Be fair with God and others.

If any still question God's fairness, I invite them to go to the father and prodigal son, of Luke 15.

--They will reveal just how merciful, fair, God is.

--You know the story, Jesus tells to illustrate it.

--The young son in the father's house, had it all.

--But he wanted more - and wanted it now.

--Requested his inheritance, before it was due.

--This father gave it to him, and he wasted it all!

--He spent all, "in riotous living." In sin. Sin!

--Got so low he had to feed, and eat with, swine.

--In the "pig pen" really. Finally saw his errors.

--Decided to come home, as a servant, not as a son.

That father shows the mercy of our Heavenly Father.

--"When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him" (Luke 15:20). Feel his love!

--Welcomed him home, as a son! "This my son was dead and is alive again; lost and is found" (v 24).

--You read of no scolding. Or I told you so.

--Only compassion, mercy, love, and a warm welcome.

Jesus shows us a human father who does this, to illustrate how much more fair is our Heavenly Father.

I recall growing up my parents having family altar.

--Bible reading and prayer; and bedside counsel.

--Those sessions were so precious and meaningful.

--Even in discipline, they showed God's fairness as they followed it with hugs, and guidance.

--I know God is fair, because my parents were.

--And because God is "not willing any perish - but all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).

Give God's fairness a chance, trust Jesus to save.

--Anyone can be "born again." How about you?

--Anyone can show mercy. - Wilbert D. Gough, DD 864