[Jesus continued his parable about the Kingdom of Heaven being like workers hired at different times during the day:]
[After the workers who worked all day complained about not being paid more than those hired near the end of the day, the landowner continued his reply to them:] "'Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?'"
— Matthew 20:14-15 NLT
We are instructed to rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15 NIV), but the workers who started earlier in the day protested when they were paid the same as the workers who started late in the day (Matthew 20:10-12) rather than rejoicing with them at their good fortune. The reaction of the ones who worked all day may seem natural, but a true sense of grace is joy for others who receive it. This sense of joy runs counter to our human self-interest and human standards of fairness. To rejoice with those who rejoice means just that — our genuine joy is when someone else enjoys the blessings of the Lord. Joy for others is not comparative, and it is not "fair-itive."
Just as the angels rejoice more when one sinner comes to repentance than over the ninety-nine who are already saved, so also there is a heavenly joy when another person finds God's undeserved favor and grace.
How can this be? We realize that we were the workers who were paid far more than we deserved! You see, no matter how good we (mistakenly) judge ourselves to be as disciples when compared with the "Johnny come lately" crew, we are always much closer to them in character and holiness than we are to God! Without his grace, our labor is in vain!
Holy and tender Father, help me to rejoice with those who come to you, no matter their past or the world's view of their worth. I know that "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in [your] sight." In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.