The disciples once asked Jesus: “Why do you speak to the people in stories, why not just say it plainly?” He told them.. The stories soften their hardened hearts and prepares them to hear and respond to the truth.
Be ready.. soft hearted.. listen closely
Matthew 21:33 “Here’s another story. Listen closely. There was once a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip.34 When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits.”
A little musical score if you like..
So… I am listening.. I love a good story… ( good movie, etc. ) the scene opens to a lush colorful valley, deep green rolling hills, dotted with exploding bursts of red, orange and yellow flowering trees. It’s springtime in the vineyard. In the distance a man is working in the vineyard. As we move closer we see an older, stately man looking carefully at his vines and branches. He appears pleased with the progress. There is an obvious pride in the work that has been done. It was his own design, built with his own hands. He surveys the vast estate, bordered on all sides with a strong fence, protecting the vineyards from the little foxes and intruders that would destroy the vines. He inspects the winepress where the fruit will be processed and later barreled. He pauses to imagine the festive gatherings, weddings and celebrations where the wine is consumed and joy abounds. He ascends the watchtower where special care is given to oversee all that has and will be done. Satisfied at having made provision for every success, we see him climb aboard a wagon and with a few words of final instruction he informs his caretakers that he will send some servants soon to collect the profits. He and his family leave behind his life’s work, really, his pride and joy in the care of his trusted farmhands which now are as near to him as his own family. He leaves on his quest with peace and confidence envisioning the endless blessings that the future will hold. A few month’s time pass and harvest time is come. With great joy and expectation he sends his servants. He imagines with affection the vineyard and caretakers he left behind as he waits for his servants to return with joyful news and the profits. He anticipates the joy in sharing the blessing with all who labored with him.
THE END. ( don’t I wish )
Wealthy Farmer: God ..aka ( Abba, Father )
Trusted Farmhands: Me and You
What a difference it makes to read this story with a softened heart. I have read it both ways. You immediately connect with the wealthy farmer who is sharing his wealth and his trust with his workers and servants. It is a picture of a thoughtful and loving man, a careful man, a planner, protector, provider. Not a hint of greed or selfishness. There were no posted guards to protect his investment from the untrustworthy help. You want to know this man, be a part of his family. Your sure his children want for nothing. Even to work in his fields would be a blessing.
The people Jesus told this story to were no doubt feeling the same thing. He was opening up their hearts to experience a glimpse of their Father God. His warmth, love, trust and generosity. These people were oppressed in multiple directions. The Romans on one side, the Pharisees and religious leaders on the other. They were starving for a word of hope, longing for salvation to come. This picture of the Father was exactly what their hearts needed.
The story continues…
One dark moonless night back at the vineyard.. a farmhand is persuaded to open the gate to a stranger…
TO BE CONTINUED….