“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go (Matt 21:28-30).”
Often times I find myself acting like the second son in this parable. Continually I tell the Lord how much I love Him and want to serve Him, and yet I never actually do anything for Him. In my heart I sincerely believe that I am doing what God wants, but in reality, I am simply living my life my way and talking about living it God’s way. The second son in the parable tried to make it look like he was faithful and obedient; but time proved that his profession was not real. The only love he showed his father was in his words, and he really didn’t mean them. God has called me to be a co-worker with Him in blessing the world; but no matter how many times I tell Him “I’ll go where you want me to go,” or, ”Here I am Lord,” I am still being disobedient if my actions don’t match my words.
The problem behind this isn’t that I don’t love God at all, or that I don’t want to do what’s right, on the contrary, I think I love God very much, and doing what is right is important to me. The problem is that in my actions, I love myself more than I love God. When doing what God wants makes sense to me, I gladly fulfill His requirements, but when the path God chooses looks rough, hard, or unnecessary in my human eyes, I trust my own, easier rout rather than the straight and narrow. At first I may recognize this failure to trust God’s leading as what it is - sin - but with time, the lines that divide my reasoning from God’s commands get blurred, and choosing my way above God’s way no longer looks bad. It becomes a habit. I may hear God’s voice and see His leading, but my ability to recognize and obey His Spirit is dulled.
No longer do I see my self-righteousness as filthy rags, and I no longer feel a need for Christ’s righteousness to cover me. I think I’m doing what’s right. I claim to follow Christ, but I don’t have the love of God in my heart that would cause my actions to reflect my words. I become content with only saying, “I go, sir.” Idly watching other workers for Christ, I claim to support them as a fellow child of God, but through my life and character I deny that relationship. My life is a lie.
Sitting around and making sure that I don’t do anything bad is not serving God. Unless I am actively serving Him, I am working against Him. Unless I am part of the solution, I am part of the problem. When I fail to do the work God has appointed, not only am I counteracting my own salvation, I am allowing souls that I could have won to Christ drift into the grasp of Satan.
Christ does not want us to take this downward path. He calls us to "Go work today in My vineyard." He tells us how to care for the garden of our mind, to grow a character that is more than words. “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love (2 Peter 1:4-7).” Work today in His vineyard. Cultivate your relationship with your Father. Teach others to do the Lord’s work, and in the end, when we bring in the harvest, you will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord (Matt. 25:23).”