““Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “May this never be!”” (Luke 20:13–16, NIV84)
A land owner hired tenants to work his land while he traveled on business. Over the next several years he sent servants to check on the vineyard and collect the earnings. This was normal practice for this time period. But the strangest thing happened. The tenants rebelled against the land owner, stole the vineyard from him, and beat every servant that the land owner sent. Somehow they convinced themselves that they owned what was not rightfully theirs. Finally, the land owner was certain that if he sent his son, they would understand more clearly what was required of them. But no! In fact, they killed the son, thinking the inheritance would be theirs. How foolish! In the end, the land owner finally had enough and went back to his vineyard, destroyed the tenants, and reclaimed what was rightfully his.
What are we to draw out of this parable? We have been created by God to be stewards of the life, talents, and earthly blessing the Lord bestows on us. But too quickly, we (humanity) begin to think we did this on our own and what we have is really ours. We become offended by anyone who would say otherwise and we become defensive toward anyone who would suggest it all be put back the way it was intended. Like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, we have rejected messenger after messenger who has tried to get us to see that we are only the tenants of the Lord’s vineyard. God sent His Son Jesus into the world to clarify the truths surrounding this whole matter. He came to reclaim not only the vineyard but the hearts of the rebellious tenants. Jesus died on the cross to bear the consequences of that rebellion.
The Owner of the vineyard (the world in which we live) is going to return to reclaim what is rightfully His. May we find forgiveness and security in the Son He sent to save us. May we also spend the rest of our lives reaching out to others who just don’t see the truth and are in no position for the Lord to return in judgment. May we work to win souls for the kingdom of God until the King returns.