“‘I will not,’ [the man’s son] answered, but later he changed his mind and went.”
What Our Father Wants
Jesus once told a story about a father who owned a vineyard. He expected his two sons to do their part for the family business. One day he told them, “There’s work to do in the vineyard. Go out to the vineyard right away and help out.”
The first son was rude and disrespectful. He said, “No, Dad, I don’t want to.” But the other said, “Yes, sir. Right away, sir.”
But later things changed. The first son had a change of heart. He felt bad about what he said. He thought about how his father loved him and realized that he could show appreciation for that love by obeying his father. So, he went to the vineyard and got to work.
But the second son, who said exactly what his father wanted to hear when he asked him to do something, never showed up for work.
After Jesus told the story, he asked, “Which of these two did what his father wanted?” Of course, the answer was the first son, the one who showed up to work in the vineyard.
How do we react when God tells us to do something? Are we sometimes like the second son? We hear what the Bible says, and we say, “Okay, I will do that.” We tell God or our parents, teachers, or pastor what we think they want to hear. But then we ignore or forget what we heard.
Or are we more like the first son? Our sinful hearts initially resist what God says. But, as we hear and see more about how he loves us, he changes our hearts. And our actions follow, as we gladly obey God.
God wants us to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. The good news is that Jesus walked the walk for us. He obeyed every one of God’s commandments. And he did what his Father wanted when he suffered and died as punishment for every time we disrespect or disobey God.
For Jesus’ sake, God forgives our stubborn disobedience and our empty lip service. And his undeserved love moves us to serve him joyfully and willingly with our lips and our lives.
Father, move me to serve you willingly in response to your patient love for me. Amen.