Lesson 8 -- second quarter 1998
April 19, 1998
© Copyright 1998, Christian Light Publications
This lesson has a vineyard for the setting. However, on this page I want to take us to a garden. In this garden grows quite a variety of vegetables...and weeds. Furthermore, this garden belongs to you, because this garden is you. On second thought, maybe that statement is less than fair to you, so let's just say that this is a composite garden, sort of a "melting pot" of various different gardens.
Please join me for a careful, pensive stroll through this plant collection. We will go through today's lesson text and note various character qualities. Some you will recognize as weeds; others you will readily identify as vegetables.
Diligence. The landowner completely prepared a vineyard. This vineyard lacked nothing of what the owner could do to make it a productive operation. To be a husbandman here would be a great privilege and joy. The landowner did the best that he could. If you tackle your responsibilities and opportunities thus, you have a delicious vegetable growing in the garden of your life.
Trust. After all that he put into preparing this vineyard, he puts in the care of some other men. Then takes off on a long trip! This landowner strikes me as incredibly trusting and generous. What is your disposition toward what you own, especially that which has cost you great effort and expense to acquire and maintain? If you are generous and trusting with what is "yours," your garden produces some nice vegetables indeed.
Disloyalty. Can you believe it?! What a bunch of ingrates. After the provision, opportunity, trust and generosity of the landowner, these husbandmen respond with disloyalty. Instead of just sending the servant back to the master empty-handed, they beat him up first. Are you in the gratefulness groove? Are you loyal to those in authority over you? Do you graciously submit to parents, teachers and church leaders? If you ever have to answer negatively to any of these questions, get busy! Yank out such evil, choking weeds!
Commitment. The first servant-messenger returns to the landowner. Barely. The master responds by sending another servant, and then another, and then another. These were quite the servants, don't you think? I can understand the first servant going. But the commitment of the following servants really touches my spirit. They went knowing what to expect: "I'll return all beat up and hurting...if I return at all." Yet they went. May God grant you this level of commitment. This is some vegetable! May every garden have it in healthy abundance.
Mercy. The landowner could have rained judgment and retribution on those husbandmen after that first display of disloyalty. But that would have been contrary to his character--he was longsuffering and merciful. When people misuse you, abuse you, and otherwise treat you shamefully and disrespectfully...offer them this vegetable from your garden.
Rebellion. The husbandmen got one final test, one final display of the landowner's mercy and longsuffering. After all that happened to the servants, the master sent his son. The wicked men recognized the significance of this choice. So they stepped naturally from disloyalty to rebellion. My friend, the weeds of disloyalty and rebellion develop and multiply prolifically. Don't ever give them a chance in your garden!
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