When we went on holiday last year, I left the plants in the care of our son. He was in charge of watering them, and generally making sure they were still alive when we came home. With the right care, we anticipated that we would all be able to enjoy the produce. I would have been quite disappointed if when they were ripe, he would have claimed them all for himself, because he had tended them for two weeks! I would have been equally disappointed if he had decided to do his own thing, or make up his own rules in caring for the plants, instead of following the instructions he was left.
Renters of a Vineyard
1Jesus then told them this story:
A farmer once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.
2When it was harvest time, he sent a servant to get his share of the grapes. 3The renters grabbed the servant. They beat him up and sent him away without a thing.
4The owner sent another servant, but the renters beat him on the head and insulted him terribly. 5Then the man sent another servant, and they killed him. He kept sending servant after servant. They beat some of them and killed others.
6The owner had a son he loved very much. Finally, he sent his son to the renters because he thought they would respect him. 7But they said to themselves, “Someday he will own this vineyard. Let’s kill him! That way we can have it all for ourselves.” 8So they grabbed the owner’s son and killed him. Then they threw his body out of the vineyard.
9Jesus asked, “What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? He will come and kill those renters and let someone else have his vineyard. 10You surely know that the Scriptures say,
`The stone that the builders
is now the most important
stone of all.
11This is something
the Lord has done,
and it is amazing to us.’ ”
12The leaders knew that Jesus was really talking about them, and they wanted to arrest him. But because they were afraid of the crowd, they let him alone and left.
Psalm 24 tells us that
The earth and everything on it belong to the LORD (v 1)
We are merely caretakers, we are given instructions that work, and God is trusting us to get on with it.
God is still looking for fruit (Tom Wright p 121), but unlike the fig tree, this time there is fruit, the plants are not in trouble – but the tenant farmers are.
They have been entrusted with so much, but are failing to give what is due back to the owner. They have refused to heed the messages the owner has sent, and now they want to get rid of his son.
They want to do things their way, they want to have everything for themselves, they have refused to consider the one that they need, the one who has just what they needed.
Is there something God is saying to us, that we fail to hear? Is there something that we are holding back from him?
As our Lenten journey draws ever nearer the cross, these are questions for us to consider – lest we be evicted from his property.
Thank you Lord,
that you have given me everything that I have.
Help me to remember that.
Help to me hear the messages you send me,
to clearly understand and follow your instructions,
that I may not miss just what I need.