“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?””
It is deeply disrespectful not to mention disobedient to look your father in the eye and declare, “No, I will not.” And yet that’s what the first son in this parable did.
The second son on the other hand politely said, “I will, sir…” but then did not obey. The father would have been impressed with the show of respect, but not with the result. This son did not truly honor his father.
So which son are we?
Most of us fall in the category of the second son. Where we are quick to agree to serve God…we fill a pledge form, agree to chair a church committee, agree to mentor a young person, agree to visit the poor…and then proceed to do absolutely nothing about it.
Outwardly, the whole world is deeply impressed with our promise, but God is deeply disappointed with our performance.
Jesus tells this parable to challenge the definitions of honor and shame, and His point is that honor is more than respect…to honor is to respect and to obey.
Dear God, please turn my upside down thinking the right way up. And teach me to follow Your ways faithfully. Amen.