An Expectation Of Fruit
Chan Gin Kai
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.
“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’
“But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
In our last article, we learnt how the religious leaders had tried to trap Jesus by asking from whom he got the authority to preach. Jesus cleverly avoided their trap and followed up with this parable that questioned the abuse of their authority.
The role of the religious leaders was to serve God and His people. Instead, they viewed their positions with self-righteousness and pride.
In the parable, a man had rented out his vineyard to tenants. He owned the land, and he had already done the hard work of planting the vineyard. The tenants only had to take over operations of an ongoing business and share the profits. They had to do some work of course, but it was a very beneficial arrangement for them.
However, when it came time to share the fruit, the tenants refused to give the owner what was due to him. This screams of unfairness, ingratitude and greed.
The vineyard owner in the parable refers to God, and the tenants refer to the religious leaders. The religious leaders thought they owned it all. They thought they had the authority and the “vineyard” was theirs. God expected fruit from the religious leaders, and rightfully so. However the leaders enjoyed the fruit of prestige and respect, but didn’t have fruit for God. Like the tenants in the parable, they rejected the owner’s servants (prophets), and killed the owner’s son (Jesus).
We too, are tenants in God’s “vineyard”, the spiritual kingdom that God has painstakingly planted. It is an amazingly beneficial arrangement where we get to enjoy the benefits of the church. We have salvation, a loving relationship with God, a life transformed, an amazing family of disciples committed to helping each other grow, and the list goes on.
God has given us the most incredible deal. We are supposed to work the vineyard and share the fruit with God, but our rewards are out of this world!
God, by His grace, intends for us to enjoy the benefits of the church and the blessings of His love. But we get entitled, we take it for granted, and we behave like we own the church. We think everything is meant for our enjoyment and forget that God is the rightful owner. God expects fruit, and rightfully so.
“What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”
It is so deceiving when some in Christendom preach so much about God’s blessings but not God’s expectation of fruit. It is sad that they do not teach the consequences of rejecting and abusing Jesus.
But how do Christians reject Christ? Haven’t we already accepted him? We reject Jesus when we embrace the teachings that please us but disobey those that don’t. We reject him when we take his love for granted and continue living in sin. We reject him when we do not love others like Jesus does.
Have I produced the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23)… love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, self-control and more? Am I still growing and changing? Do I serve the church? Do I help the poor? Am I reaching out to the lost? Do I deny the owner, God? Have I rejected the servants, the prophets? Am I abusing the son, Jesus Christ?
God allows us to enjoy the amazing fruit of His vineyard. Do we share the fruit that He rightfully asks for?
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.