by Julie Jewell, Children’s Ministry director at our Blacksburg campus
Matthew 21: 28-32
“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.’ “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went, “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 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.’
Tuesday was a busy day for Jesus. He taught several parables, was challenged by various religious leaders at the temple, and traveled to the Mt. of Olives where he prophesied about the future.
In Matthew 21, Jesus teaches a parable about two sons. One son refuses to help his father in the vineyard, but then has a change of heart and goes out to work for his dad. The second son quickly agrees to help but never follows through in his actions. Jesus was teaching this parable to religious leaders in the temple who knew and said all the right things, but whose hearts were not right with their Father God. The first son’s initial response was not perfect, but in the end, he was the one who pleased the father by doing the work he was asked to do.
I find that at times, my heart is like the second son, quick to make promises to God and others, but not always with the intention or heart to follow through. Another verse that comes to mind when reading this parable is Matthew 5:37 “All you need to say is simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” I want my faith to be real and pleasing to God. It’s easy to say all the right things but if I’m not in relationship with God, I’m not going to please Him with my words. My hope is that I can say “yes” to my Father when He nudges me through the Spirit to do something and do it whole-heartedly. I know that I will continue to mess up, but this Easter, I can be thankful for a God that sent His Son to cover all of my mistakes and I can be thankful that He wants to be in a real, loving relationship with me.
Can you think of areas in your life where you are “half-way” committed to God or don’t feel that you can be real with God?On this same day, Jesus taught his disciples that they could pray and ask God for anything. In Matthew 21:22 Jesus says “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” If you are struggling with having a real, personal relationship with Jesus or struggling with giving God some area of your life, Jesus says you can pray about being healed from that. Take time today to pray and believe that God can answer your prayer in His own timing and way.
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