“But that’s not fair!!!” You can almost hear the whining voice of a four-year-old complaining about not receiving the treatment he thinks he deserves. To the child’s young mind, it doesn’t seem fair that older brothers and sisters get to stay up later than he does to watch TV because that’s unwarranted favoritism.
But how many young children voice objections about fairness when they receive something BETTER than they deserve? As a twelve-year-old, did you complain that your four-year-old sibling did not get to stay up as late as you?
Jacob had left Canaan on less than good terms. He had tricked his aged and blind father Isaac into giving him the blessing that belonged to his older twin brother, Esau—not fair!! For this, Esau hated Jacob to the point of wanting to kill him. Jacob had to flee Canaan with only the clothes on his back and a staff in his hand. He would spend the next twenty years working in a foreign country.
In Genesis chapter 32, Jacob is standing on the eastern banks of the Jordan River. About to cross back into Canaan, he realized something was not fair. Having left Canaan with only a staff for his possessions, he now returned with two wives, over a dozen children, a large number of livestock, and numerous servants.
Jacob did not complain about receiving God’s favoritism. Rather, he praised the Lord God for having treated him better than he deserved, saying, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies” (Genesis 32:10).
May the Holy Spirit keep each one of us in God’s grace that we may be found faithful followers of His holy Word!
Better than We Deserve!
Jacob recognized that the unequal treatment he received from the Lord went beyond the material blessings showered on him during the twenty years he had been gone. He speaks of all the “mercies” and all the “truth” which the Lord showed him. The God of all creation promised to be his God. The promises which the Lord had made to his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac were now extended to him as well. For instance, Jacob’s descendants would inherit the land of Canaan as their possession.
But the greatest blessing extended to Jacob was the fact that from his lineage the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, would eventually come.
As we once again approach the national festival of Thanksgiving, cannot we also echo the words of praise uttered by Jacob? God did not treat us fairly—that is, He did not give us what we deserved—namely, eternal wrath as punishment for our countless sins, for we deserve the fires of hell.
But instead of giving us what we deserve, the Father gave us His own beloved Son. While we deserve punishment. God showered His grace, His undeserved love, upon us as St. Paul teaches, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Do we think or say, But it’s not fair” that Jesus should die that we might live?! Indeed, it is not fair to Jesus, but more than generous to us. Look at it this way—we sinners have reason to give thanks to the Lord through whose amazing grace we are treated so “unfairly”—given better than we deserve, even eternal life in
Christ Jesus! Hallelujah!