This morning, we are glad to see vineyard or vine in three readings: the Old Testament reading from Isaiah, the Psalms, and the Gospel from Matthew. We cannot talk about vineyards without making mention of wine. This is because vineyards are plantations of grapevines which is expected to produce grapes used for making wine. It is imperative to note that the Bible represents the people of Israel with a vine or, if you like, a collection of vines found in a vineyard. In the parables of Jesus, and some passages where vinedressers are used, it represents the civil and religious leaders of Israel and Judah who have it as a duty to guide and lead the people of Israel on the right path but are always seen departing from the directions of God and becoming corrupt in all their dealings.
“For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting, and he looked for justice, but behold bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold an outcry” (Isaiah 5:7).
Vineyards are planted not for the sake of it but to bear good fruits, fruits that last.
In planting his vineyard, God prepares the soil, ensuring the earth is fertile and can get every nutrient it needs to survive. This is hard work, and he has done all this for us because of the love he has for us and his desire for us to live comfortably. God dug the soil, cleared it of stones and planted choice vines in it; he did not end there but built a tower right in the middle to serve as security and protection for us. According to Isaiah 5:2, God expected the vine to bear good grapes but instead bore sour grapes. Beloved in Christ, we often chance on the opportunity to do good, but all we do are things that grieve the Holy Spirit. God will ask why my children are still doing the things I have always admonished them not to do. God expected justice but found bloodshed and integrity, but only a cry of distress. Beloved in Christ, God expects us to lead the way; he wants us to right the wrongs, he expects us to give hope to the hopeless, to put smiles on people’s faces, he encourages us to brighten the corner where we are with the love of Christ; he admonishes us to light up the dark places with his undimmable light.
In planting the vineyard, God also fenced it, meaning every protection we need to survive in this kingdom business has been given to us, so we have no excuse for not bearing good fruits. He has assured us of his presence and willingness to give us whatever we need. God has invested so much in us by sending his beloved son to us so we can be saved. In the parable in
Matthew 21:37-38 “Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.”
God has done everything for us to receive his redemptive power, yet every attempt he made was thwarted, so to complete it, he sent his only begotten son to die for us. God has given us Jesus Christ so that we will receive salvation rather than eternal damnation. This is his investment in my life, and this is his investment in your life. Are we allowing it to go to waste? Or are we making it benefit us and the world?
My dear Christian friends, we cannot do this without prayer and thanksgiving. Philippians 4 tells us there is no need to worry, but if we need anything, we should pray to God and develop a habit of prayer and thanksgiving. We go through challenges, so we should always be prayerful and lead lives that are right in the sight of God because,
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16b).
We must fill our minds with true, noble, good, and pure things, everything we love and honour, everything that is virtuous or worthy of praise. Let us bear good fruits that will last; otherwise, the kingdom of God will be taken from us and given to a people who will produce its fruits.