God Is Good
Giving God, I ask for the gift of a discerning mind so that I will choose Your life-path for me—not my pathway, or what others want for me.
Read MARK 12:1–12
Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.
6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
For a few moments simply recount your experience of the goodness of God. Having given thanks, ponder how much your life reflects an appropriate gratitude.
Agricultural images abound in the Bible, with God featuring as the hard-working farmer who labors to produce a harvest. Isaiah 5 provides a striking example with its vineyard on a fertile hillside planted with the choicest vines (Isa. 5:1,2). That story is the basis for this thinly veiled attack on the leaders of Israel who, despite all the careful tending, produce nothing for the farmer. In Isaiah the vineyard was unproductive, here the problem is tenants (leaders) withholding the harvest the owner rightly demands. The challenge for Christian believers, who have been given “everything we need for life and godliness,” is how we answer God’s inquiry: “Where are the transformed lives, the renewed relationships, my new community?” (2 Pet. 1:3).
The owner’s patience is stretched to the limit. Servants are not simply ignored, as if the tenants extinguish the lights and pretend not to be at home. Rather, each new approach receives harsher treatment. Still the owner continues, hoping against hope for a change of heart. Finally he sends his own son, but the tenants see his appearance purely as an opportunity to advance their position rather than as a final plea. This world has an evil tendency to take advantage of love.
This story echoes Isaiah, in asking, “What more could have been done?” (Isa. 5:4). The love of God reached out to the people of Israel throughout their history as it still does, to this point in our history. He keeps reaching out, seeking a response to all his provision. He is ignored, violated and debased and he keeps on loving; we can do nothing less in our relationships. God keeps on loving—but patience with those who reject the one who is the cornerstone of the universe will finally lead to rejection.
God’s patience is a cause for great thankfulness but never smugness. Think of someone (or a group) who tests your patience. How can you show them a God-like reaction?
Father, I need insight from You as to how to handle people. I need to show patience with them, but sometimes I feel I am an enabler. I look to You, dear Lord, for wisdom as to what to do.
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