He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out. “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ Luke 20:12-13 (NIV)
Jesus tells us a story of a vineyard. He paints us a scene and a situation that hopefully we can picture. Is He trying to tell us what things on earth are like? He speaks of a place. He tells of people. But who are the characters within the parables of Christ? Is His story easy to see? Does it take a lot of imagination to say who the people are and who is to blame? Where do we place the incrimination for the atrocities committed in this borrowed land?
Are we successfully able to place all the personages safely in the past? Have we been able to make them fit a description of someone who lived long ago? Can we heave a sigh of relief and say that the words of Jesus were for a people of an age gone by? Or do those words ring in our ears? Can we hear them speaking directly to us today?
If we are able to let our hearts write us too into the story, where do we find ourselves? Are we the servants who are sent but treated poorly? Are we treated shamefully, beaten and rejected by those living in God´s vineyard? How are we related to the owner and His Son? Or do we see ourselves as the tenants who have been allowed to live in this borrowed land? Is it us who owe tribute to the Owner? Are we the ones who might not be paying all that is due to Him? Has God ever sent someone to us to open our eyes to see what He is asking from us? Did we recognize these messengers of the Lord immediately? Do we quickly hand over anything and pay out any price to see our debt repaid? Do we take our situation that seriously?
The Pharisees of Jesus´ day were wise enough to recognize their incrimination within the story. But did they choose a good reaction? It hurts to know that we are also carry blame and have fallen short of God´s wishes for us. But what kind of reaction do we seek when we become aware of our guilt? Do we reject the thought? Do we point a finger at another? Do we resent anyone who would accuse us of not being completely fair with the property of God? Do we look for a way to water it down or lessen His words or His stories? Do we secretly seek to put Jesus and His parables away where they cannot affect us?
Or are we anxious to let the words of Jesus fall full on our shoulders? Can we get the consent of our hearts to do this in the hopes of finding healing for our failures? Does our incrimination throw us further upon the mercy of the Lord? Do we need Him more for healing and forgiveness? Has the realization of our blame brought us to seek Him and all that He can do for us? Do the scenes that Christ describes help us to see our world in a different light? Do they lift our vision past our current situations and help us see what God is working on? Do they make us realize that our lives and everything in them are on loan to us? Can we see that we owe a huge debt to God the Owner of all things? Is He asking for His rightful payment of our entire heart? How honest are we being towards that debt? Are we truly looking for ways to make whatever payment He may ask?
Dear Jesus, open our eyes to see where we fit into the picture. Help us see whatever it is that we may still owe. Give us a heart that is willing and anxious to give and to please God in whatever way You may ask of us. Let us be faithful tenants with all that has been given we pray!