“What do you think? A man had two sons. Now he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ “‘No, I don’t want to,’ he replied. But later he changed his mind and went. “The father said the same thing to the other son, who replied, ‘Yes, sir.’ But he didn’t go. “Which one of these two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first one.” Jesus said to them, “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering God’s kingdom ahead of you. For John came to you on the righteous road, and you didn’t believe him. But tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. Yet even after you saw this, you didn’t change your hearts and lives and you didn’t believe him (Matthew 21:28-32, Common English Bible).
“Keith, mow the yard today,” my Dad would say. I can promise you that if I behaved as either of the sons in the lesson I would have been in trouble. We have already talked about that. If I said no, I would have been in trouble, probably for being a smart mouth (and it would probably be deserved) and if I went ahead and mowed the yard, it probably would have been because of the consequences I had already suffered. Consequences are great motivators.
On the other hand, had I said I would and then not followed through, unless there was a really good reason, there would have been consequences, probably worse consequences, because of my lack of honesty.
In the end, however, this lesson isn’t about me and my earthly father. The lesson is about me and my Heavenly Father. It seems to me, it is even easier to say no to God. God isn’t right there as a physical presence. The consequences don’t seem as immediate and they probably don’t even seem as real. I am not saying consequences don’t happen in the earthly realm when we are disobedient to God. If you think that, perhaps you should go back to your Bible and read a story about a guy named Jonah. It is just that, at least at times, God maybe doesn’t seem so real, so the consequences don’t seem as real and that allows us to move forward in ways we at least think we want.
In the end, for Jonah, he ended up exactly where God wanted him to be. He went to Nineveh. It was no longer about what Jonah had said, it was about what he did.
For all of us, that is true. At one point I had a tiny poster, about the size of a bumper sticker, but it was a poster. It said, “The best sermon is a good example.” In other words, it isn’t about what you say, it is about what you do.” The world pays more attention to our actions than it does to our words. And, while I do believe God cares about our words too and words are important, God does care more about our actions.
What do your words say? More importantly, what do your actions say?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thanksgiving,