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As Jesus continued teaching and declaring the coming of God’s Expression on earth, someone who wanted to try to scare Jesus away said, “Get out of here. Go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill You, You know.”
But Jesus told him, “No. I’m not leaving. You can go tell that fox that I’ll keep on healing people and pushing satan out of people’s lives… both today and tomorrow, and on the third day My work will be done.”
And Jesus told them this story… There once was a prince who was going to travel to a far away place to be crowned king. So he called some of his servants and gave them each a small bag of money. He told them, “Use this to do business for me until I come back.” Then he went on his journey.
But the prince’s subjects hated him and sent a group chasing after him to say, “We don’t want this man to be king over us!”
Once the prince had been crowned king, he came back and called for his servants. “Hey, How’d it go? Whatcha got for me?”
The first servant kneeled and said, “Sir, your bag of money has made ten more bags of money!”
The king smiled. “Good job, good and loyal servant! Because you were faithful and trustworthy with this small thing, I will now give you 10 cities to rule over! Come, be happy with me.”
Then the second servant came in and said, “Sir, your bag of money has made five more bags of money!”
The king said to her, “Awesome, well done. I will give you five cities to rule over!”
Then the third servant came in. “Uhh… here’s your bag of money back, Sir. I hid it to keep it safe, because I was afraid of you, because you’re such a harsh master.”
“Is that what you think of me?” the king asked. “Then I will judge you by your own words, you evil, lazy servant! You should have at least put my money in the bank so that I would have earned a little interest.”
Then the king said, “Take the bag of money from him and give it to the one who has ten. Everyone who has brought me something will be given even more. But the one who doesn’t have anything, even what he has will be taken away from him. Throw this evil servant out.
“And about those enemies who didn’t want me to be king… bring them here and do away with them while I watch.”
Does this king seem mean and harsh to you? Not at all. The master is happy and generous to the servants who did what He asked them to do. But to the servant who accused and insulted the master’s character by calling him hard and mean… well, that man was judged by his own wrong thinking, wasn’t he?
So never insult God and His character by moaning and groaning as if we “don’t know what to do” or “we’re afraid of doing the wrong thing because God’s a hard master.” (Phht! sound) No way. God just deserves a return on His investment in us. So, let’s just give it to Him by doing His business every day, with everything He’s given us.
Then Jesus told another story. He said, “Once upon a time, a man planted a vineyard of grapes. He hired some farmers to take care of it. ‘Farmers, here’s the deal. I need to go away on a journey, and I’ll be gone for a long time. You can live on my land and have some of my crops, if you’ll take care of my grape vines for me.’
“The farmers agreed, and then the owner went away on his journey.
“Later when it was time to harvest the grapes, the owner sent a servant to pick up some of the harvest of fruit. Since it was HIS field and HIS grapes, the deal was that the owner would get some of the fruit. But the farmers were evil, and they beat up the servant and sent him back to the owner, WITHOUT any grapes.
“So the owner sent another servant. ‘Go to the farmers and bring me back some of the fruit that belongs to me.’ But the bad farmers treated this servant even worse than the last one, and sent him away, WITHOUT any grapes.
“The owner sent a third servant, and this servant they hurt badly and threw out. Finally, the owner of the grapes said, ‘What should I do? How am I going to get that fruit that belongs to me? I know. I will send my dear son; perhaps they will respect him.’
“But when the evil farmers saw the son coming toward the vineyard of grapes, they said to one another, ‘Look, here comes the owner’s son. He’ll own this vineyard next so let’s kill him, and then the land will be ours.’
“So the wicked farmers killed the son and threw him out of his father’s vineyard.”
As the people heard Jesus’ story they were aghast, “That is awful.” “Terrible.” “How sad.”
Jesus asked the people, “Now you tell Me how this story will end? What will the owner do when he finally gets home? Yeah... You know what will happen. Trouble. Trouble. Trouble is coming to those farmers, and the owner will give the vineyard to others who will give him the fruit that belongs to him.”
The people said, “What a terrible story! May this never happen!”
But Jesus knew it was already happening. God had entrusted His vineyard, His fruit, with people, but they had only ignored, mistreated, and killed the prophets He sent to help them. And now they were about to do the same to Him, God’s very own Son.
Jesus looked straight at them and said, “If you’re sure that won’t happen, then why was it said: ‘The stone the builders threw away has become the most precious and important stone of all’?”
The guys who had been calling themselves the teachers and experts of God’s ways started to turn red and breathe faster and faster. God had often talked about how His People were like His vineyard so these guys knew Jesus was talking about them!
It was as if Jesus was saying to them, “I’m here for the fruit, fellas. This isn’t your field. It’s My Dad’s. And anyone claiming to be a leader had better make sure My Dad gets good fruit from your work in His vineyard.”
And Good Fruit in people — is changed lives. It is people getting closer and closer to God every day.
These men had agreed to work in God’s vineyard and take care of the fruit of people’s lives. But instead, everything they did in the vineyard was just for themselves. They gave God nothing in return for Him letting them live on His land.
Do you remember a couple of stories before this when Jesus demanded fruit from the fig tree? Yeah. And if He deserves fruit from a tree, don’t you think He deserves some Good stuff from our lives, too? Definitely. Let’s give it to Him.