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The Parable of the Husbandman

Those who abuse or fail to fulfill their calling
will be replaced by those who will do the job right.

By Ken Raggio

Vineyard Workers

A Householder planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower overlooking it. Then He gave the job of keeping it to a certain man, and left the country. His only expectation was that He would have fruit from His vineyard in due season.

The husbandman caretaker would have little to do besides routinely looking after the vineyard. The land had already been worked. A vat in the midst of the vineyard meant that he could produce delicious fresh wine without having to haul the harvest to market, or even to barns. The ripe fruit could immediately be prepared for consumption and future use.

The husbandman could work in relative ease. A hedge prevented unwanted visitors from intruding, especially the foxes that spoiled the vines. The tower provided him an opportunity to identify approaching trespassers in time to gain a tremendous advantage over them.

The job description demanded little more than simple maintenance of the vineyard to ensure a bountiful yield on the crop. In exchange for his labor, he could expect to partake in the harvest even though he had no personal investment in the harvest to begin with.

The kings of the nation of Israel were given power and authority over Abraham's descendants. There had never been a group of people in the world with so much potential.

The field was extremely fertile. They were a nation that had been cultivated by miracles and signs and wonders to nourish their faith in God. The seed in their hearts was the infallible Word of God, handed down to them in the Mount by the hand of God. The land had been especially good land - it had flowed with milk and honey in abundance even before they arrived. But a strange thing happened.

When the time of the harvest came, the husbandmen became selfish and possessive of the vineyard. When the Owner's servants first arrived to receive the fruit of the vineyard, instead of delivering a rich harvest to them, the husbandmen chose to murder the servants, and keep the fruit for themselves.

How foolish they had to be, to ignore the fact that judgement would surely come to haunt them. As one servant, one prophet, one preacher at a time came to call for the Owner's fruit, the husbandmen insanely slaughtered them in cold blood.

Then the Owner's own Son came to call. "Surely they will reverence my son!" the Owner had reasoned. But tragically, their demented minds were totally insensitive to the morality and purpose of their occupation.

Their selfish obsession pressed them into the final merciless act, as they crucified the One who would have been their very Benefactor. But vengeance belongs to the Lord. And He WILL repay.

The vineyard was taken from the evil husbandmen. And it was given to other husbandmen who would give the Owner His fruit in due season.

From a vantage point of two thousand years distant, we can see the God of all the earth transferring the title deed of everything He owns into the hands of common men.

Peter - a fisherman, Matthew - a tax collector, Saul - a misguided religious zealot. And suddenly, under the crude handling of ignorant and unlearned men whose most noble virtue was a sincere desire to please the Lord, good things happened.

The fruit of His vineyard began to abundantly multiply. At first, they could only muster a meager group of beleaguered disciples for a ten-day prayer vigil. But their prayers were answered, and God sent an outpouring of His Spirit that shocked a city to its knees.

People were being filled with the Holy Ghost in the streets. The fruit was bearing, and new wine was flowing like a river. From Jerusalem, it flowed to every nation.

And the Owner of the vineyard was pleased.Today, as in every generation, His vineyard is in the hands of husbandmen who are, without a moment's notice, subject to the judgement of the Owner.

Those who serve Him faithfully, fulfilling their ministry, bearing fruit, presenting precious souls to Him for His good pleasure, will inherit all things. "...Unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him," (Luke 19:26).

Jesus illustrated the pleasure of the Lord of the servant, saying, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things," (Matthew 25:14).

Lest we forget, "...the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he shall reward every man according to his works"(Matthew 16:27). The Master is definitely interested in our profitability to His cause.

Our reward will be adjusted to our return on His investment. If we multiply our talents, we will be given additional talents. If we squander, or otherwise cause to be profitless, our talents, we will be stripped of those we had.

Every man is given talents according to his ability (Matthew 25:15), which indicates that none of us have been given a greater responsibility than we are able to fulfil. Each of us serves with a different handicap, yet we all perform under a pressure of duty. And for our labors, we know that "he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (2 Corinthians 9:6).

A good husbandman stands to reap a bountiful harvest.

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