The Wicked Tenants
by Ivana Rix
Often the tenants in this passage (and the parallel one in Matthew 21:33-40) are taken to represent the nation Israel, which over the centuries was unfaithful to God and ultimately rejected His Son as their King. They are also taken to represent individuals who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior and His offer of eternal life in God’s Presence. Either way, we must be impressed with how dire the consequences are. I would like, however, to make a more personal application, to look at the parable from a faith perspective.
The tenants’ responsibility was to tend the vineyard and to give back to the owner part of its produce. If we are represented by the tenants, what would the vineyard represent? Although God has delegated stewardship of His creation (His vineyard) to us humans (Genesis 1:28-30; Genesis 2:5), as individuals we may not have the ability and the opportunity to do very much.
But if we see the vineyard as the life that God has given to us personally, this becomes something quite different. I can steward what God has entrusted to me personally, all the things that I call ‘mine': my body, my mind, my spirit, my time, my energy, my talents and my possessions. How faithfully and how well am I managing and taking care of these? Examining and evaluating each one would be a gargantuan task. So, let us look at three of them that can be readily assessed: money, time and energy.
It has been said many times that our checkbooks (and these days our categorized bank and credit card statements) reveal how well we are taking care of the money entrusted to us. We need to ask ourselves: How is most of my income spent? The answer will reveal my priorities and the object of my love. What percentage am I giving to the needy? To God’s work? How much goes for entertainment, clothing and my appearance? These are good questions to ask ourselves from time to time, especially during Lent.
Since time and energy are intrinsically linked, let us examine them together. What percentage of the 24 hours at my disposal do I spend in worshipping God and communing with Him? How about studying His Word? Participating in His work in the church, in my neighborhood, in the world? How much time do I spend on games and other entertainment? These are good questions to ask ourselves, as we will be called to account for the resources entrusted to us.
God is continually sending His servants to remind us and encourage us to give Him His due. In our time, the “servants” God is sending us are the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, our conscience, godly friends, Christian leaders, and even nature. The consequences of disregarding these servants are severe. Let us strive to be faithful in our stewardship, so that we may hear the Lord say: “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master.”
Holy Father, we thank You for the life You have given us, and pray that You will give us the grace to live it in a manner worthy of You, pleasing You in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of You, and all to Your glory.
Ivana Rix is an active member of The Falls Church Anglican, and she can often be found on the Welcome Team and participating in Sunday morning Bible study in the Learning Center.