Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
I am staying in the midst of California wine country at the Bishop's ranch. It is an extraordinarily beautiful place, chilly at night and warm during the day, surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye can see. I really don't know anything about the care of vineyards nor how to grow grapes. The process of making wine, average or great is a mystery to me. And yet, being here, in the midst of these vineyards, I understand how powerful the images of the parables, and the importance of their care and keeping. Many thousands of people are reliant for their survival on these vineyards.
Jesus tells the parable of the unfaithful tenants to remind us of how important our service is to God. We are given to the care and tending of others, the nurture and love and the most vulnerable. Their care and feeding is our obligation, and our faithfulness and respect is essential. God promises abundant blessings to those of us who are willing to put the care of others first, tenderly loving the most fragile of the vines. God invites us to rededicate ourselves to service today.
Today I ask God to give me the courage to step out in faith, expecting vineyards and gardens to tend. May we all trust that there are fields for us to tend, and abundant ministry ahead. May we be grateful for the places we have been planted and those who have nurtured our bodies and spirits with love and faith today.