To obey is better than sacrifice,and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Georg Pencz (German, Wroclaw ca. 1500–1550 Leipzig) The Parable of the Father and His Two Sons in the Vineyard, from The Story of Christ, 1534–35 German, Engraving; Sheet: 1 9/16 × 2 5/16 in. (3.9 × 5.9 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917 (17.3.1283) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/432116

Scripture passage: Matthew 21: 28-31, 28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Even though Jesus narrated this parable to the Jews, this applies to our families also.

1.Pride : With lot of expectation had the father approached his elder son, but he replied back with a NO like a slap across his face. He did not show respect to his father neither did he obey what he asked him to do. It was the money and the wealth that made the pride in him talk back to his father. He was not able to control himself even in front of his father. Saul had become arrogant, self centered and selfish because of the different luxuries in his life, his wealth and fame. This became the reason of his down fall also. 1 Samuel 15:11, 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.”

Isn’t this the situation in our families today?? The answer is, Yes. Parents today are hesitant in using phrases like,” It isn’t possible”, ” No we don’t need this”. We are ready to fulfill their demands in every way possible. It is a good thing. But along with it, children should be made aware of financial problems, habit of hard work and also instruct them about the way the Lord has led us. If not, then we should be prepared to face the same backlash like the elder son gave the father. In today’s modern world, the luxuries of life have increased a lot. Along with it the generation today has lost the habit of hard work.

2. Laziness and lack of clarity: Both the sons were lazy. They were enjoying themselves in the luxuries that the father had created with his hard work. In Matthew 21:28 we can see that the father asks the son to work TODAY. It means that prior to this he never asked them to work in the vineyard. The father had not taught his sons to take on responsibilities. That too was a reason for their laziness. King David too while lazing around instead of being at the battlefield saw Bathsheba having a bath. The result of that sight was falling into sin. We have often heard this phrase “An empty mind is Devil’s workshop”.

Both the sons behaved irresponsibly and without respect towards their father. The elder son regretted his words and later went to the vineyard to work. Jesus compares the same with those desiring to enter the kingdom of heaven. Unless you repent you will not enter. Matthew 21:31-32 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

3. Hard work of father: This parable dates back to 2000 years ago one should remember. To own a vineyard was not an easy task. It requires lot of hard work and toiling in the soil. The sons were not used to this. The father must have approached the sons due to his failing health or old age or seeing that they are now old enough to take on the responsibility of the vineyard. The sons were not responsible towards the vineyard even though it was theirs also. In today’s families, how many of our children help parents in family matters and responsibilities??? Parents and children reading this should ask this question to themselves.

Let us look at the generation today. They are more knowledgeable and educated than their parents. The use of gadgets and technology is more than is needed. Today’s generation are getting hooked into Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat which ultimately leads to them having to hide their face at times, why????? They look for ways to earn money by hook or by crook. How many parents have succeeded in raising children who grow in self realization and character development instead of getting trapped into the magical material world. How many parents today can say with confidence that I am proud in the way my children are able to balance both professional life and family life??? This parable is not to scrutinize the faults and follies of father and son, rather to look for something to learn something from them.

Before the great flood, Lord had asked Noah to build an ark. Before the advent of technology his sons helped Noah built the ark in 14 days without questioning their father. And the Lord blessed Noah and his family to flourish over the earth. Let us also try to bring up a generation that respects & obeys the elders and has the habit of hard work. May the Lord help all the parents in this.

Proverbs 10:4-5,

Lazy hands make for poverty,
    but diligent hands bring wealth.

He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
    but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

AMEN

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