As a young child, I shared goodnight prayers with my Dad. Sitting at my bedside, he touched my feet and said, “Lord, guide these little feet to safe places.” I also remember being sent on errands to the homes of neighbors or to shopkeepers. “Tell them I sent you,” Dad said. I bear a striking resemblance to him and I always went on these errands with confidence. I knew that just as my father was warmly received, I could expect the same greeting.
The vineyard owner, the parable tells us, is a father who loves his son. When he sends him to the calculating, brutal tenants to collect what they owe, we can only reason that the father believes they will see his son and gladly receive him. Surely they will notice the family resemblance, or the kindness of his son’s nature. Perhaps they will view this son’s journey to do business with them face-to-face as a sign of respect. When we read that they murder the son, we are aghast. All kinds of questions rise from this story. Why are the tenants evil? Why would the owner endanger his son? What produce or payment gained from the tenants could ever compare to the value of his son’s life?
As children created in God’s image, we all bear a holy likeness to our Creator. Like the vineyard owner’s son, we too find ourselves sent into a hostile world to be of service. When those we encounter observe our actions and hear our words, will they recognize who we represent? Will they be able to understand God’s presence and love through us?
What gives you the confidence to serve God?
God, no matter how difficult the task, help us magnify your glory, love, and grace in our words and actions today. Amen.