Summary: We claim our kingdoms and possessions and call them "mine." God lays claim to all and calls us to acknowledge it as his.
Two friends were walking in the forest one day when suddenly they stumbled upon a large grizzly bear who decided that they looked like a good snack. The two started running away when all of a sudden one of them stopped. The other said, "What are you stopping for? Don’t you know the grizzly bear is right behind us?" His friend replied, "I am tying my shoe so I can run faster." At this he couldn’t help but laugh, "What you think you’ll outrun the grizzly?" The friend replied, "I don’t have to outrun the grizzly, I only have to outrun you."
Deep in our DNA is a propensity for self-centeredness. Selfishness is a dominate gene in the human race. Perhaps, in the past, self-centeredness was necessary for our survival. Now it is a characteristic that nullifies our witness of God's grace and love. It denies the truth that God truly is the provider of our daily bread, and it robs us of our experience of the abundant life. Finding something bigger than ourselves in which to believe--such as becoming a disciples of Jesus Christ--is essential for our happiness. Self-centered egotistical people score lowest in any test for measuring happiness. Source unknown
Our Lord is experienced in dealing with self-centered people, though. Today's parable gives us a clear picture of how God intercedes in the lives of the egotistical, self-centered, selfish people.
Jesus and the chief priests (and other religious leaders) continue to be in a argument over Jesus' authority. Jesus tells the parable in that context.
There are several different perspectives from which to view this parable. Many in the crowd, who heard this parable, thought that the wicked tenants were obviously the religious and political leaders of the day. The chief priests placed themselves in the role of the landowner. (Many of them were absentee landlords). The Christians of the early church and we, ourselves, might think that we are the inheritors of the kingdom; once the landlord deals with the wicked tenants he will give the vineyard to us.
Nobody sees themselves as the wicked tenants. Jesus ends his conversation with the chief priests by accusing them of being the wicked tenants, who have killed the prophets and also killed the son. We can't turn our backs on this parable easily. If we make more than a passing glance at this Scripture passage we will see ourselves.
Our God has given has given us life itself. Yet, rather, than offer ourselves as living sacrifices, as Paul instructed the Roman Christians in his letter to them, we live our lives for ourselves. We do our own thing. We seek our own goals, set our own priorities, and chart our own course. We may not rough up those who advise us to change our ways, but we certainly yield to the temptation to ignore them.
In Genesis the Lord tells Abraham and Sarah that he has blessed them to be a blessing. In a consumer orientated society, we tend to keep our blessings to ourselves. We can't lend a deaf ear to the hundreds and thousands of advertisements that we see and hear each day. All of us have a list (some much longer than others) of what we want and feel we need in order for our lives to be happier, more comfortable, and more what we believe we are entitled to.