In Mark 12:1-12, Jesus was traveling and teaching the Gospel. At every turn, members of the Jewish authority resented Him and attempted to trap Him into saying something blasphemous so they could arrest Him. Jesus told the parable of man who built a vineyard and leased it to vinedressers. The vinedressers were to take care of the field and harvest the vineyard. The landowner lived away from the property and sought to receive a portion of the fruit at harvest time.
As the parable goes, the landowner sent many servants to receive a portion of the harvest, and “they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully.” In verse 5, “And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others beating some and killing some.” Verse 6, “Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’”
Verse 7 tells us that the vinedressers said “This is his heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” Verse 8, “So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.” Verse 9, “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.”
At this point, the parable is hopefully beginning to make sense. Jesus was describing the vineyard as the blessings God had provided to the Jewish people, and us, and His servants were the many prophets God had sent to the Jewish people to save them. Clearly, the “son of the landowner,” was Jesus, whom God sent to earth.
Blessings come in many forms and many times we may not recognize them at the time. God provides for us in all ways and the best outcome for us may not always seem like it in the moment. We live our lives searching for meaning and understanding. We seek satisfaction and happiness from material things. Our hearts are programmed to accept sin and we turn away from God due to our selfish, sinful tendencies. Our human nature is sinful, and the challenge is to recognize what God’s purpose for lives are and not our own. What blessings is God providing me that I may not recognize?
Perhaps the relationship that you thought was “meant to be” did not work out. Maybe you still think about the promotion at work that you did not get and are still bitter about. Perhaps it was the home that you wanted to buy that you could not afford. All the things we seek have consequences and impacts. Perhaps the relationship that did not work out would have pulled you further away from God. Maybe the promotion at work would have been too much time away from home and your family. Maybe the house you could not afford would have taken your marriage into a stressful place that would not have been productive for your relationship.
God is sending us “servants” all the time to give us messages and signs about His will for us. Our Lord loves us unconditionally and wants what is best for us, but we may not recognize what “best” is in the moment. I strive to recognize during the disappointments or challenges, “What is God’s purpose right now? What does He want to me see that I am not seeing? What does He want me to hear in this moment?”
Do you look back on trying times and see them differently now? As you get older and experience life at different stages, do you recognize moments that might be “God’s purpose?” The most difficult question for me to answer is “What is God’s plan?”
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Esther 4:14 – Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Psalm 33:11 – The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.
Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
My prayer is that we have the humility and heart to listen to “God’s voice” in the moments when we “cannot hear” anything. My hope this that we rest knowing there is a plan, and someday we will understand more completely the struggles and trials, when God’s plan is revealed to each of us in Heaven.