Monday, March 16, 2015

The parable of the Tenants

3.16.2015 Monday of Lent 4                        Mark 12:1-12 The Parable of the Tenants

So what do you do when you run across a problem with a troublesome renter? In most cases, you demonstrate patience – but ultimately and finally, patience has a limit. So also, with God.

 God shows patience.

When a prophet was killed God kept on sending other prophets and servants. What a remarkable contrast to what most would have done under similar circumstances. Again, here is the patience of God demonstrated to us.

The Lord went so far as to send His only Son. Through Christ’s death, He atoned for the tenant’s selfishness. Here we see the great lengths the Lord went to show His love and patience.

The Lord continues to demonstrate His patience for us. He is still giving us time to bring forth fruit of faith. He continues to love and seek our love. He continues to provide is those means which we need to receive His mercy and care.

And yet, the patience even of God has a limit.

When the Jewish nation finally rejected Christ, God’s only Son, God gave the Gospel message to the Gentiles. You and I believe in Christ because the Father gave us His grace and turned the vineyard over to all who would come to faith.

The patience of God will also run out with this world. Eventually the world will end and then there will be a final judgment. We must see from these words of the Savior that if people reject the Gospel, then the Gospel will be taken from one group and given to others.

How can we apply these words to our day and time? It seems as if the Gospel of the kingdom has moved full circle. At one point in time, the center of world Christianity was found on the continent of Africa. But when people finally rejected the Gospel and turned to other religions such as Islam the world center of Christianity shifted to Europe. Over time as people in Europe resisted the Gospel message the Church grew in North America. As Christianity begins to wane, where is the Gospel spreading? Yup! We’ve gone full circle. The world center of Christianity is back in the continent of Africa.

As we are living in what many refer to as a Post-Modern or Post-Christian society where there has been a shift to what is now the center of World Christianity. The point Jesus makes in this parable of a people reject Christ, the Gospel can and will be taken from one and given to others.

Again, we come back to the initial question – what sort of tenants are we? It is our duty to be good stewards, faithful tenants, and good renters. We must continue to share this message of the kingdom with all that we meet, and with all that, we know.

God’s sign is still out for all to read and see. It says “VINEYARD FOR RENT.” The terms for the vineyard are as generous as they can be. In His marvelous love, God has considered all of the difficulties renters can give Him and yet He allows us to rent this prime ground. How wicked we would be if we would ever spurn His love.

What a privilege it is to be a tenant in God’s vineyard. What an honor it is to bring Him the fruit of faith with joy. My the Lord so move us to be good tenants until that time in which we move out of that rented ground into a new home, one which has been purchased by the same Landlord we are renting form now – Jesus Christ the righteous one.

O Lord our God, in your Holy Sacraments you have given us a foretaste of the good things of your kingdom. Direct us, we pray, in the way that leads to eternal life, that we may come to appear before you in that place of light where you dwell forever with your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, fo ever and ever. Amen[2]

[1] Image by Ed Rioja © Higher Things

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