Approach God with quiet, gentle movements.
Refuse to be “loud” and eager to do the talking.
Come ready to bow down . . .
and listen . . .
and find purpose,
as one who remembers what it is to be less than holy.
“What do you think? A man had two sons. Now he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
“‘No, I don’t want to,’ he replied. But later he changed his mind and went.
“The father said the same thing to the other son, who replied, ‘Yes, sir.’ But he didn’t go.
“Which one of these two did his father’s will?”
They said, “The first one.”
Jesus said to them, “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering God’s kingdom ahead of you. For John came to you on the righteous road, and you didn’t believe him. But tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. Yet even after you saw this, you didn’t change your hearts and lives and you didn’t believe him.
Jesus is saying in this parable that it matters what you actually do in response to God. A parent might ask you to take out the trash or empty the dishwasher. A teacher expects you to do your own work. A coach trusts you to complete a set number of laps on the track. You have a choice to make. Do you ignore the request, cheat on the assignment, or fail to complete the warm-up? Giving someone lip service falls short – like the one son in the parable who said he’d go to the vineyard but didn’t after all.
The chief priests and elders in the temple appeared to honor God with a responsive lifestyle. In actuality, these men prioritized their personal status in the community more than following the God whom they claimed to worship above all else. When it came down to it, they didn’t respond to what God was actually doing among the people.
Saying we love God while withholding love from other people completely misses the mark. Let’s make our words and our deeds one.
God, forgive me when I judge others. I don’t know their hearts. But you know mine – the best parts of me and the worst. I want a faith that is real and not for show. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Rise from a kneeling place.
Embrace God’s call to put others first today.
Resist the urge to find a spotlight.
Allow the light of God’s love to shine brightly, even boldly, through you.