Summary: We are tenants of God’s kingdom and our choice is either to be troublesome or devoted.
Troublesome Tenants - Matthew 21: 33-46
Intro: When considering purchasing rental property, here are a few things to keep in mind: 1) A tenant’s ability to see dirt and damage is much greater when they move in than when they move out. 2) Everything in your rental will break 100 times faster than in your own home. 3) That sweet little girl you rented to will start dating the mad motorcycle man from hell the very next week after she moves in. The parable of rental property found here in Matthew is really an extended allegory – the owner is God – the vineyard, the nation of Israel – the cultivators (tenants) are the religious leaders of Israel – the messengers, the prophets and the son is Jesus. – Every parable has at least one lesson to be learned. This one has 3.
I. VS. 33 teaches a great deal about God.
A. It tells us of God’s trust in humanity / God not only gives the task, God gives the where-with-all to accomplish the task. (vineyard, winepress, wall and watchtower)
B. VS. 34 – God expects what rightfully belongs to God. / Definition of insanity = “Trying the same thing over and over again EXPECTING a different result each time.” / How closely love and insanity exist together. / Love = “Trying the same thing over and over again HOPING for a different result each time. God deals with us in patient love.
C. VS. 42 – teaches there will be a time of reckoning.
II. VSS 35 – 39 teach us about humanity. Jesus teaches that God has given the kingdom to those who believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
A. This is the place the Lord has provided for us to live in, to work in and from which we are to return fruits of faith to him. As children of God, we are people of privilege.
B. The privilege has gone to our head and we often become unreasonable, disrespectful and possessive often acting with the attitude of the tenants in the parable.
C. The GK word for the treatment of God’s servants is “traumatizo” The servants were not just bruised but bashed, not just wounded but wasted, not just pounded but pulverized, not just troubled but terrorized. – the deliberateness of human sin.
III. VSS 37 – 44 / The problem with the tenants wasn’t that they were unwilling to part with the fruit or pay the rent; they wanted to keep the whole estate.
A. The rebelliousness of the tenants is ours as well. We do not want to be accountable to anyone but ourselves. We don’t want someone telling us what to do and what kind of people we ought to be. As far as we are concerned the world belongs to us, our lives are ours to be lived the way we want.
B. We claim the Master’s land and everything in it as our own and don’t want God meddling. Nor do we want to give God what rightfully belongs to Him.
C. We fail to realize a time of accountability is inevitable (see Vs. 41 – 44) 2 ways to respond to the “Rock Of Ages” / be broken or crushed.
Conclu: The story is told of a man who was dreaming that he was witnessing the crucifixion of Jesus. In his dream, he couldn’t stand the gore and inhumanity. He ran to the Roman soldier pounding the nails through the hands of Jesus. Grabbing him, he turned him around only to see his own face! (Emphasis: Preaching Journal for the Parish Pastor. Volumne 21, Number 6. Ralph E. Dessem, Lima: CSS Publishing Company Inc., March-April, 1992, p. 40)
God continues to wait for us to get our acts together, to quit trashing what is His and remember that the stuff down here, our possessions, our money, our property, and even our selves do not belong to us but are gifts from God over which we are to be good stewards.
Stewardship is simply the wise managements of God’s resources. It is as much about living as it is about giving. Good tenants / troublesome tenants / The choice is yours.