Luke 20:9 A man planted a vineyard, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country for a long while.
The grace of God is always sufficient. There is great comfort in the riches that God ours out upon us. And when God gives its always 100%, so if it requires batteries, they are included, God is not a giver of things like the cake mix, where you have to add oil and eggs, or the kit that is complete except for the required hardware. Godís salvation is full and complete. Godís forgiveness is unconditional, and relatively limitless, God can forgive murderers, robbers, adulterers, and all manner of people who have lead very wicked lives, so we could say that there is no sin that is so big that God could not forgive it. The limit is that such forgiveness is received by faith, also a gift of God, but those who refuse the gift of faith are unable to receive Godís forgiveness. So if everything can be forgiven, does it really matter what we do? This is the question that this parable asks.
After all, if all you have to do is turn to God, and ask forgiveness and then go to heaven, there are some people who think they ought wait till the last minute, so that they have plenty of stuff which requires forgiveness. And while it is possible to wait to the last minute, there are at least 2 problems with this, first is how do you know when your last minute is? Second, is how can you be certain that at the last minute (if you knew when it was) that you will have the faith to accept Godís forgiveness? But always in my mind the bigger problem is who would want to live their whole life under the wrath of God, and to carry around day after day the burden of all that sin, and to have no peace in your life. So we learn that 10 commandments, so that daily we can examine ourselves, and seeing our sins, that daily we can confess our sins and receive forgiveness, and be restored in the peace of God which passes all understanding.
Unfortunately, it is possible for some to look at the 10 commandments, and to see no sin, and to congratulate themselves that they are more righteous that others. They say to themselves, I havenít killed, stolen, lied, or thought wicked thoughts, nor have I coveted, or dishonored my parents, I havenít used Godís name, I have no other god, I go to church, I must be perfect. And it may be possible to avoid the things we ought not do, but if we havenít done the things we ought to do, we are still guilty of sin. And that is why, when we memorize the commandments, we also memorize Lutherís explanation, so that we might be able to examine ourselves for sins of commission, that is things which we did, and also for the sins of omission, the things which we failed to do.
In some ways, the sins which is central to the parable of the vineyard is stealing, now stealing is in some ways a special sin, because as a sign of repentance, you are to repay what was stolen, with interest. What makes this even worse, at least from our perspective, is that the what we have taken, we have taken from the God who will judge our lives. There are many excuse which are given, but the point is not to rehearse excuses, but to remember that all we have, is a gift of God. We have not earned it, we do not deserve it, we are stewards, and we have a long term lease from God for all that we have, and there will be an accounting.
So, if all that we have is really Godís, and that we will need to give an account when our lease expires, what does God require? The best advise is this, on the first of the week (that is before paying the bills) count up the blessings with which God has blessed you in the past week, and return a portion to the Lord, and to his work. Why weekly? Hopefully you can remember what happens in a week, God does not want to impose on us a burden of records and bookkeeping. Besides generally small portions are generally easier than a large lump sum. What kind of a portion, how much does God want? God leaves that in your hands, but has provided as a guide, that the people under the OT were required to give a 10% minimum, that is where the tithe came from.
Now that we are living by grace through faith in God, living as stewards of Godís creation, what is the point of this text? 1. To remember and give thanks to God for his grace. 2. To warn our neighbors that they too are stewards, that being warned, they might not incur Godís wrath, by mistreating his servants, or be found guilty of the blood of Jesus Christ, Godís son. So that they may be prepared to give an account Ė not by works, but by grace through faith in Jesus blood which washes away all our sins.