The king comes back at the end of the year to see how his managers have fared with the estate he gave them. The well-being of the whole people is the criterion by which they will be judged. If the people is covered in sores and blemishes, the managers will be removed from their post and the post will be given to someone else. On the morning of that annual general meeting, the bailiffs will knock the door down and throw them out to those they defrauded
1. God planted a vineyard (Isaiah 5, Mark 12) and he watered and worked and cultivated and protected and built a protective wall to defend and watchtower so invading armies could be looked out for.
2. The Lord sowed seed, and sowed, and sowed (Mark 4)
3. He looked forward to fruit. He waited year after year (Luke 1.7 Three years now I have been coming to look for fruit… dig round it one more time). The fruit and crop he looked for is the community of people in relationship with himself.
4. To induct them into the practices of his husbandry he gave the care of the vineyard to senior Israelites, giving each local responsibility and the task of bringing up the people and growing the business. He appointed under-workers as managers and harvesters. Matt 20.6 Why have you been standing her all day doing nothing? John 4.35 Look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest (ripe for rescuing). Matthew 9.38 When he saw the crowds he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless… Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore to send out harvesters into his harvest fields. The (excluded) Israelites were the harvest of the Son of Man: they were also his harvesters, to share with him the work and joy of bringing in more harvest.
5. He sent them teachers and encouragers, and expected regular news and evidence of the progress of the work. But these teachers were driven out (Mark 12).
6. On their own (without the instruction of God) the tenants were poor farmers. The fields became a desert. The people of Israel is battered and bruised (Isaiah 1). Their sores multiply. The poor call to God to come back and depose he put in charge of bringing up the kingdom. James 5.4 The wealth you failed to pay the harvests who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord God Almighty.
7. Those set in authority, and who have refused the authority of God, gradually lose all sense of responsibility. They insulate themselves from the common people, so they cannot hear any warnings or see things any way but their own, and do not tolerate contrary voices. They fail to see what is coming.
8. The king comes back at the end of the year to see how his tenants have fared with the estate he gave them. He will hear the public assessment of their rule. The well-being of the whole people is the criterion by which the masters will be judged. If the people is covered in sores and blemishes, the managers will be removed from their post and the post will be given to someone else. The managers may lock themselves in the office on the morning of that annual general meeting, but the bailiffs will knock the door down and throw them out to the shareholders they defrauded and the employees they sacked.
9. If we do not go to work, put our hands to the plough, we will not only not make any progress, but what we presently know will be taken away from us again. If we sit on the knowledge we have, as though it were merely intellectual knowledge, something that we could store in our barns for another day, this knowledge will be taken away from us without our ever noticing. Unused knowledge (the word of God) leaches away from us painlessly, leaving us anaesthetised and closed. The word does not go into hibernation inside us. It gets up and goes back to God, from him to be sent out on another mission.