Matthew 21:28-32 – “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “And he answered and said, ‘I will, sir’; and he did not go. 30 “And he came to the second and said the same thing. But he answered and said, ‘I will not’; yet he afterward regretted it and went. 31 “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The latter.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before you. 32 “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax-gatherers and harlots did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.” NASB
Just prior to this passage, Jesus had been challenged by a self-righteous group of spiritual vagabonds. They questioned His authority to do the things He had done. Jesus used this parable as a mirror trying to help them see their own sins and shortcomings. The way to understanding the authority of Christ is to see our real state before Him. Those who pride themselves in their own supposed goodness will remain ignorant of His true authority and saving power. When we come to the end of ourselves, we find His Grace sufficient.
This unique parable reveals what God truly wants from us. That is Actions, not Words! I ask that you take a brief journey with me through the account and hopefully we can discover or mine the nuggets of truth provided.
Notice the Command of the Father in verse 28, “Son, go work today in my vineyard.” I must ask, “Who should be more interested in the success of the vineyard than the son?” There was work, to be done and since this is family business no one should be more invested and willing to work than a son, right?
Consider several things, if you will. Examine the Grounds for the Father’s Claim or Request. It was his son. There are plenty of hirelings whose labor can be secured for a price, but love should motivate a son. 2 Corinthians 5:14 says, “For the love of Christ constraineth us…” It motivates, directs, guides, and empower us. It is not for material gain but for love that we serve. If we are God’s sons and daughters, then He has first claim on our lives, our time, and our talents. Strangers are hired but heirs are part of the inheritance and have a much deeper and higher motivation for service.
Next, consider the Desire of the Father’s Heart. The vineyard needed work. How heartbreaking it must be for God to see so much that needs to be done, so many lost, so many needy and many of His children sitting idle, sipping on their iced tea in the shade while the weeds and tares overrun the vineyard. The work requested pleases the father, benefits the vineyard, and is profitable for the family. Proverbs 19:15 informs, “Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger.”
Tragically, too many of God’s children talk a good talk but fail to walk a good walk. I would like for us to consider the Urgency of the Father’s Request. The work needed to be done that day not someday. We can’t wait until we get more experience, we cannot assume that due to advanced age it is too late, and there is no retirement from God’s service and being a member of God’s family. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the only promise we have. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow!
I want to consider the response of the sons and how it reveals a truth needed in today’s world. We will address that in the another devotional but until then may the rich and bountiful blessings of the LORD be yours this day!
Have a Great Day!