Do we have anything in common with the treacherous tenants in Mark’s story? Would we ever reject someone who carefully builds the place we occupy, then entrusts us with it? On this side of the parable, we’d never admit it if we did. We label tenants like these abusive, dangerous, unbelievably self-centered, and worse. We might call them entitled, but that could hit too close to home.
Haven’t we all, at some moment in time, felt that we were owed something that we weren’t given—or even promised? Recognition for a good deed, a promotion, a job offer, or a college admittance? Have we ever felt cheated out of what we believe we truly deserved? Maybe sometimes we are cheated out of what should be ours, but we also need to see how the desire for more can quickly become an obstacle to living abundantly.
After laboring in the vineyard, the tenants forget whose vineyard it is. Do they really believe the owner should not receive his share of the produce? Their greed poisons what could have been a life-giving relationship and escalates this story to a tragedy.
Their story helps me identify the entitlement in my own life. I wanted to have a child and believed I deserved a healthy baby. When my coworker was pregnant, I felt deeply envious. When I finally admitted this to her and apologized, I found that God’s love was great enough to comfort us both. The good news about being on this side of the tenant’s parable is that we can choose a different response from theirs.
How often does our sense of entitlement obstruct God’s good intentions for us?
God, help us let go of whatever troubles our relationship with you. Help us to clearly see all you give us and live in gratitude for it. Amen.