Pastor Mason Beecroft, 01/31/2010
Our parable this morning challenges our sensibilities about right and wrong, the very nature of justice. It used to be that the most skilled athlete, the hardest worker, the best employee, or the smartest student received the highest accolades. Well, it used to be this way. Now every athlete gets a ribbon or trophy, even if it is only for participation. Employees and workers expect, even demand, pay raises and rewards, regardless of their performance. And grade inflation in our schools and universities has made an “A” almost meaningless. Grade point averages balloon even as the air of scholarship and knowledge deflates. Participation ribbons, unearned raises, entitlements, and grade inflation rub against the ethos of the Protestant American work ethic. Hard work, dedication, superior skill, intelligence, and ingenuity should be prized. It only seems fair, doesn’t it? Rewards should be based on performance. The hardest working, most productive employee should get the raise and promotion. The students who master the subjects and score highest should get the best grades. The highly skilled, devoted athlete who wins the race should get the prize. It only seems right for people to be rewarded based on their work. Justice almost demands that people are measured based on their performance.
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