21st Sunday after Pentecost
God’s gifts to us
33* ¶ "Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country.
34* When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit;
35* and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them.
37* Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ’They will respect my son.’
38* But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ’This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’
39* And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40* When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?"
41* They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons."
42* Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: ’The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43* Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it."
45* When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.
46* But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet. RSV
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
A Quaker once posted a sign on one of the choicest fields of his farm. It states, "This land will be given to the first satisfied person who passes this way" .
He no sooner arrived back at his house than a man knocked at his door. Sir," he said, "I just saw your sign and I want you to know that I am a completely satisfied man. I have a devoted family, a successful business, financial security for the future and I am in excellent health."
The old Quaker looked his visitor over very carefully and then said "Pray tell me, friend, if thou art completely satisfied man, why dost thou want my land?"
The gospel lesson this morning about the parable of the renters and the landowner is at times a difficult parable to understand. However, I think it does have two distinct points.
The first point is that the kingdom of God belongs to those who believe in Jesus.
The second point of the parable is about in one sense being satisfied with what God has given us and using it to the best of our abilities.
A landowner built a vineyard and then hired servants, or renters, to run it. After it had produced a crop, he sent his servants to harvest the rewards of the vineyard. But the renters had different ideas. They wanted the crop for themselves, so they killed the servants.
The landowner sent more servants and the same thing happened. So he decided to send his son. But the renters even killed the son.