October 5, 2008


Well-Known Member
Reaction score
October 5, 2008
Isaiah 5:1-7
5:1 Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
5:2 He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
5:3 And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
5:4 What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
5:5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
5:6 I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!

Matthew 21:33-46
21:33 "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.
21:34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce.
21:35 But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.
21:36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way.
21:37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
21:38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance."
21:39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
21:40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?"
21:41 They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time."
21:42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'?
21:43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.
21:44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls."
21:45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them.
21:46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

The American Indians didn’t have much of a concept of private property. They wondered, how can I own land? The land was here before I came and it will be here after I am gone, so how can I claim that it’s mine?
The white man said then you won’t mind me taking it off your hands. And we took it. Now they are taking it back one casino at a time. But I’m not here to talk about gambling.
I am here to talk about who owns the earth.
I am agree with the Indians on this one. We might pay money to control pieces of the world for periods of time, but we are just middle-men. We have inherited our place on the world from those who came before and we are holding it in trust for those who come afterward. We are more like caretakers than we are owners, but caretaker isn’t exactly right either.
Today’s scripture has a nice way to look at it: we are tenant-farmers who are tending a vineyard for the landlord, and the landlord is God.
This is one of those Sundays when the Old Testament and the New Testament are solidly together. God has left the children of Israel in charge of his vineyard. The lord has bought the land and put in improvements. The tenants have everything they need, but the landlord is not getting his investment back.
This is something that’s been discussed within these walls before: the joy of being a land lord. You buy a house; maybe it’s and old house, so you fix it up. Maybe you get a little bit excited and put in some stuff that you think will be cute. A couple moves in and pays the first month’s rent, but they don’t get garbage service even though it’s only $9 a month. They quit paying for the water so they can’t flush the toilet. By the time you get the sheriff to kick them out, they’ve already moved out because it’s so bad that not even they can stand it.
Can any of you imagine how that would feel, Perry?
It would be real easy to preach a sermon on the environment right now, and I believe we should take care of the environment, but that’s this scripture is saying. We are like tenant-farmers and tenant farmers get a share.
I’ve mentioned this before. My Grampa Sam was a tenant farmer. They raised cotton on shares for Peter Nail who was a Choctaw Indian. As a tenant farmer, Grampa got the house and a plot to raise food to live on, but when he planted cotton he shared it with Peter Nail.
We live our lives on this planet as tenants. We earn our living and feed our families, but we’ve got to give God his due.
Now the two scriptures are both about vineyards, but they are a little different. In the first one, the owner of the vineyard is complaining that he planted good grapevines, but the vineyard yielded wild grapes.
Interpreting scripture is tricky, so I want you to know that what I am saying is my own interpretation, but I believe this is talking about idolatry. That’s a pretty safe bet because the Children of Israel were always having trouble with idolatry. It’s something we still have trouble with. Idolatry is letting one thing become more important than the whole thing.
I mentioned the environment earlier. We ought to take care of the environment. I believe that. But there are times when the needs of people come in conflict with those of the environment and both must be weighed. There might be times when you have to put folks out of work for the sake of the environment, but to say that the environment always wins in every situation is idolatry. On the other hand, to say that jobs must always win is idolatry too.
We as Methodists can sometimes fall into traps because we’ve got our programs. We’ve got ministries set up to take care of the poor, and that’s a good thing; it’s one of the best things we do. But that is only part of the picture we need to see as Christians.
We also have to look at ourselves and work to change what needs to be changed. God calls us to holiness.
And somewhere in the mix must offer people the saving power of Jesus Christ, not just food.
In giving God his due from the vineyard, one of the things we need to do is to take care of our church, and when I say church I mean the building and the people. When the roof needs fixing, the hat goes around and it’s fixed. When someone needs looking after, they get looked after. That’s taking care of the church.
But we sometimes act as if our home church was the only one that mattered and forget that we are part of a larger church. We take care of our own, but we have to take care of our neighbor too. Just like being a tenant farmer. You keep a share, but you send a share to the big house.
Father, we thank you for providing a world where we can live and thrive. Help us to give you your share by helping our neighbor and by teaching the ways of your Son in whose name we pray. AMEN.
I can see applying this to several situations in this country. I couldnt agree more .. we know the planets dying but others might not. So we cant really blame them either :(