Yes, I Will!

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’” “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.” “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.”

“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” (Matthew 21:28-32)

In this story, Lord demonstrates the difference in men’s characters. Some prove to be better than they promise, others promise better than they prove to be. Think about it … which one are you?

“Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace.” -G.K. Chesterton

We see the same command delivered to both sons: “‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’” God sets His children to work as heirs, not as slaves. Work was not meant to be a curse, but a blessing! It is a gift from our Heavenly Father. I am reminded of Adam’s responsibilities in Genesis prior to the fall:

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)

God had no intention for His children to remain shiftless and idle. And He intended for man to enjoy his labor. Work became drudgery only after sin entered the world.

The Gospel call to work in God’s vineyard requires modern day believers to be obedient to His call as well. We are to bring the love and truth of Christ to all those we come in contact with. Daylight was not given for us to aimlessly piddle away. Jesus has commanded us to “go and make disciples” and that directive carries with it His authority, affection, and ability. There is work to be done in God’s kingdom!

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
In the parable, the two son’s responses are very different. The first son responds with a flat denial to his father’s wishes. Excuses are bad enough but downright “no’s” are even worse. Often people refuse the call of the Gospel–which may even come in the form of the still small voice of the Father–initially choosing to follow worldly pursuits or pleasures. Here, the first son denies His Father’s directive, yet on second thought reconsiders, repents, and produces fruit in keeping with repentance. To be sure, “better late than never.” God graciously and patiently waits on us despite our former follies. Indeed, He rises to show us compassion:

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
(Isaiah 30:18)

Some prove to be better than they promise, others promise better than they prove to be.
The second son responds with respect and professed obedience, yet is duplicitous. To be sure, saying and doing are two separate matters. Many mouth words but demonstrate their heart goes in a different direction. We must back up our words with what we do.

Take It to Heart

When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)

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