It was the perfect turnkey business, already prepared for success. The landowner had planted the vineyard already, knowing it’d take several years before the fruit appeared. Meanwhile, he built a wall around the field and installed a winepress for when the grapes were juicy and ripe.
He even constructed a watchtower, because plenty of predators – winged and walking – would try to steal the crop before it was ready.
So when he rented the field out, those in line knew this would be a successful business.
But a problem arose. The first harvest was lush and full but the renters didn’t want to pay their rent.
After the renters had abused the landlord’s representatives – and even the collection agency – the landlord decided to send his own son. The son knew the business well and was very good in communicating.
The renters killed the son, assuming that they’d get the field because the landlord now had no heirs.
They assumed wrongly, for the landlord destroyed the renters and gave the field instead to others.
What are we to make of this story? It is a parable of Jesus, told in Mark 12, and seems simply to condemn the religious leaders of the day. And there are parallels to them.
But there are parallels to us as well.
The bottom line in the story is that the renters, although given a field in perfect condition, refused to give the landlord what they owed him. And eventually the landlord destroyed them in their rebellion and gave the field to another.
Let’s make the parallel with what God has provided: a world that is well able to provide for all our needs. We live in a place of beauty and abundance. We can get gritchy, complaining about what we don’t have, but we’re not seeing that we have all we need for life abundantly.
How do we respond to that? Do we pay God what we owe him?
Tomorrow: what do we owe?