God’s Vineyard

He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.” (Luke 20:9-12)

In the books of Matthew and Mark we find additional details surrounding this story:

“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. (Matthew 21:33)

He 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 went away on a journey. (Mark 12:1)

Jesus is comparing the kingdom of God on earth to an exquisite vineyard furnished with all the things necessary for its management, improvement, and development. These verses of Scripture are reminiscent of a description found in Isaiah:

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.(Isaiah 5:1-2)

The Lord has planted the Church for the display of His splendor, and it is ever under His watchful, protective eye. It was He who planted the vineyard with the choicest of vines; it was He who cleared the soil of the stones; and it was He who built the watchtower and the winepress–all with the goal of enjoying its fruitfulness.

Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.
(Isaiah 27:2-3)

Those of us who enjoy all the privileges as children of the King also have pleasant and profitable responsibilities which accompany our position–we are to about bringing forth much fruit. Proverbs tells us:

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
(Proverbs 11:30)

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

The story goes on to explain how the tenants beat the faithful servants of the man. Unfortunately, this has often been the case of God’s faithful servants as well. They have been abused and treated wrongly by those who are resolved to take God’s gifts for themselves. They not only refuse to acknowledge God’s rightful authority, but also abuse those who do.

“Though assaults be many, and my enemies mighty, if God strengthen me, I have enough to comfort me; for the greater my enemy, the more glorious my victory; and the more glorious my victory, the more triumphant my glory.”
-K.H. Von Bogatzky

“Christians shouldn’t be surprised when, in seeking to do God’s will, we find ourselves trapped in painful, frightening, difficult, or impossible situations. Life is hard–especially for Christians.” (Robert J. Morgan)

Take It to Heart

“Grant, O Lord, that I may earnestly seek to bring forth fruits, and may grow in fruitfulness as I grow in years; and never cease from yielding fruit; hereby proving myself to be a tree of the Lord’s planting, whose leaf is green, and whose branches are flourishing and fruitful. Yet bless me also with deep poverty of spirit, that I may see myself still nothing, have nothing of my own to glory in, or to justify me; and thus esteem Christ my all, and rest upon Him wholly.” (K.H. Von Bogatzky)