sour grapesIn Luke chapter 20, Jesus tells a story about tenant-farmers in a vineyard. No doubt they were conscientious in performing their duties at first, but after a while they started to get too comfortable with their situation. The owner was taking a long time in returning to claim his property rights, and they started believing and acting as if he was never coming back. When the owner sent agents to collect the rent, the tenants sent them off empty-handed, and when the owner sent his own son, they killed him.

The story was a parable about the religious leaders at the time, who had taken God’s story and acted as if they owned it, making up their own rules and refusing to listen to messengers sent by God. Ultimately even the part about killing the owner’s son was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified. However, the story is also a parable about the state of the church in the West today. The workers are acting as if the owner is never coming back, and weeds have been allowed to run rampant, so that hardly any fruit is being produced.

Faith in Jesus, which was supposed to be something which radically affected every aspect of a person’s life, has been reduced to a tired but comfortable ritual performed on Sunday mornings. God may not have been sending many prophets to collect the rent, but if he did they would go back empty-handed because the vineyards are barren. Years of neglect have left the fields infertile.

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