Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard. “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?” And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away. (Mark 12:1-12 NKJV)
I think that most of us have heard the traditional teaching of this parable: that the man who planted the vineyard represents our Father in heaven, that the vinedressers represent the pharisees and scribes who were jealous of Jesus, and the beloved son represents Jesus Christ. I wholeheartedly agree with the traditional teaching this parable and believe that Jesus was warning the jealous pharisees and scribes when He spoke this. However, today I couldn’t help but think of another passage as I read this parable.
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:34-45 NKJV)
Just as the owner of the vineyard entrusted what was his to the vinedressers, so has The Lord entrusted what is His to us. He has entrusted us with many things, including money–whether a large amount or small, time, material possessions, education, knowledge of the Gospel, and much more I am sure.
The owner had sent his servants to the vinedressers and asked for some of the fruit from his field. He didn’t want it all, just a portion, but the vinedressers selfishly refused. I believe that The Lord also asks us to give to Him some of what is already His. That may look different for each of us, but the call is there–a call on our lives to give back to The Lord.
For you, He may be asking that you give some of your time to your local church and teach a Sunday School class. He may be asking that you use some of your education to help struggling students learn to read or write. He may be asking you to use some of your material possessions to clothe a lonely homeless man. He may be asking you to give some of your money to sponsor a child living in poverty and crisis. Or maybe He is asking you to do or give something completely different altogether.
When we listen and obey this call the Son of Man will set us on His right hand and say, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you…” (Matthew 25:31-34). However, if we chose to ignore the call and disobey The Lord then we are no better than the vinedressers who selfishly hoarded what wasn’t theirs to begin with.
Perhaps you are reading this and thinking, But I haven’t heard a calling from The Lord. I haven’t heard Him ask me to give or do anything. I suggest that you prayerfully seek His counsel and ask Him how you can feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, care for a stranger, clothe those who are naked, or visit those who are sick or imprisoned.
Lord, You have blessed each of us more than we deserve. Most of us, if we live in a home with four solid walls and a roof, are richer than the majority of others here on earth. What we have is not ours, but Yours, and You are trusting us to use it for Your glory. Show us how to do that. Show us how we may each receive You by receiving others. This I pray in Your name. Amen.
There are many people in this world who are struggling to survive because of the poverty that they have been born into. Because of their circumstances, many have lived their entire lives without ever hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. If you would like to know more about these people and how you can help bring them the Gospel, please you consider reading No Longer a Slumdog: Bringing Hope to Children In Crisis. The book can be purchased here or you can request a free copy of the book here.
Read more on #HandWritingTheWord here.
I hope my thoughts help you understand how this scripture can be applied to our modern lives, but don’t just take my word for it. Dive into The Bible yourself, pray, and ask the Lord to reveal His truth to you personally.
Have a question or a thought? Please feel free to leave a comment.