Tenants in God’s Vineyard

Mark 12: 1-12
Tb 1:1.2; 2:1-9 / Ps 112

At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard.
(Mark 12:2)

When God increases our blessings
It is not meant to be our reward,
It is a call for greater things,
As worthy tenants in His vineyard.

This provocative parable of our Lord was a prophecy of His own impending death in the hands of the unworthy tenants (the Pharisees, Scribes, and temple priests), who were the stewards of God’s Covenant with Israel. Quoting Isaiah, and the Book of Psalms, He said, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. (Isa.28:16) By the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:22-23) His parable also sends the message that all our wealth and worldly possessions come from God, and we have a grave responsibility to use them wisely.

Reflection

God planted a vineyard in our lives, then He leased it to us as His trusted tenants. Many of us are grateful to the Lord for this bountiful vineyard, but have we been giving back His rightful share of the produce as the Owner?

One of the most important things that we have learned in the Charismatic renewal (which is essential in Christian formation) is the practice of tithing. It is where we have come to realize that we are mere stewards of the material blessings that God placed under our care. As such we should periodically give back to the Landlord a portion of all our income.

We find it strange that our Church has not been emphasizing the importance of tithing to the faithful, when in fact in most Protestant denominations, the practice is virtually mandated. For all intents and purposes, tithing is practical, necessary, and spiritually beneficial. It is Scriptural, and even materially rewarding. It takes care of the basic needs of our Church and community. It is used to promote God’s work in the world. It satisfies our need to express our gratitude to God for all our blessings, (it is basic in our human nature to express our gratitude). And tithing checks our financial priorities, promoting personal discipline in the wise use of our wealth.

Tithing is our concrete testimony that we are putting our trust in God, and not in our wealth. In a parable in Luke 12:16-21, our Lord calls a rich man who had a bumper harvest a fool for putting his life’s security on barnfuls of grain.

Help us, Lord Jesus, to be “on guard against avarice of any kind, for life does not consist in more possessions, even when one has more than he needs.” (Lk.12:15) Amen.

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