On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 151: Giving Away the Kingdom (6/18/17)

“Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” (Matthew 21: 43 RSV)

The New Testament is full of parables which Christ attempts to teach us using common day examples.  We see in Matthew, Chapter 21, several parables.  The parable of the two sons (versus 28 -32) and the parable of the wicked tenants (versus 33- 41) both teach us that we are not guaranteed a place in the Kingdom of God.  Eternal life is truly a gift that God has given us but how we experience that gift depends entirely on how we use the gifts that God has given us as well as expressing our gratitude for those gifts.

In the first parable, we see one son promising his father that he will go into the fields and work while the second son states that he will not go into the field to work but changes his mind and does.  Christ asks which of the sons obeyed his father?  Are we like the first son who talked the game but that is all or like the second son who initially refused but then realized the errors of his ways and went to do what the father requested finally realizing all the father has given him.

The second parable concerns a landowner who cleared the land, planted vines, makes a wine press and then turn it over to tenants to work.  When the owner sends servants and his son, the tenants beat them and in the case of the son, kills him.  He asks the question to the religious leaders, “what will he do to those tenants?”  The religious leaders say that he should put them to death not realizing they in their self-righteousness are condemning themselves.  God has given them every spiritual advantage, instructions, liturgy, wisdom, the prophets and still, they missed the mark of the Messiah.  They rejected the message.  What was the result of all this, the Jews had their kingdom taken away, and God gave to another, who heard the message, accepted it and changed the world.

What do you think will happen if the message is again rejected?  WE must use the time, talents and treasure that God has given us to produce the fruits of the message, the fruits of the vineyard.  We have been given so much and have done so little with it.  It is not too late to start.  Use the gifts that God has given you for the glory of God and for a good accounting at the awesome judgment seat by being good stewards. 

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

Mark Your Calendar Now for the 2nd annual Stewardship Retreat will be held September 22-24, 2017.

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