“Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
Jesus is addressing this parable to the Chief Priests and the elders of the people, but we can take it as addressed to us if we are similarly hard of heart. Remember, Jesus’ condemnations are invitations to conversion and warnings against harmful behaviors. Jesus warns them and us that if we do not change our ways and become productive disciples, then we will lose our privileges in the Kingdom of God. Just as Satan refused to serve and was cast into hell, so too we are in danger of damnation if we fail to serve God.
God has done most of the work, prepping the vineyard, defending it and assigning laborers. We are all invited to play our part in cultivating the vine (the Church) and producing good fruit. We have responsibilities, each according to our state in life and the gifts God has given us, and we are expected to work. As in all aspects of life, we need to exercise the virtues of perseverance and fortitude if we want to see results. We can get spiritually lazy, as well as physically. If we put effort only into those things that benefit us personally, then we are like the wicked servants seeking to steal the heir’s birthright. If we work only for our self-interest, then everyone suffers, and the landowner (God) is disappointed. We put ourselves and others in danger of losing not just our employment, but our very salvation!
A few good questions for reflection this week:
What have I done, or what can I do to bear good fruit for God?
What could I do more of or less of to become more effective as a disciple, evangelist, and servant of Christ and His Church?
Have I lived up to my responsibilities as a Christian parent, student, citizen, and disciple?
Have I formed my conscience well and followed its influence in my thoughts, words, and deeds?
When I meet the Lord Jesus at the end of my life, do I expect Him to be pleased with my efforts?