Thrive: Two Sons – Allison Kentle

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“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
—Matthew 21:28-32

Can you just picture the scene one Saturday morning? Everyone is in the kitchen. One teen is sitting on the counter, pop tart in one hand, texting with the other hand. The other sits at the kitchen counter eating a bowl of cereal, headphones on, listing to music while playing a game on his phone. The father walks in, opens the fridge and pulls out the orange juice. “Okay, I am going to need both of you to do some yard work today.” “What!?! Yard work?! I am going to the movies with my friends.” Pushing back from the counter, leaving a mostly eaten bowl of cereal, the kid storms out of the room. The father sighs and looks at the other one still sitting on the counter who has not even glanced up from her phone. “Well?” the father says. Without looking up, she says, “Sure, yard work, today, got it.”

Two hours later the lawn mower is cranked up. But surprisingly, the child who said “no” is the one out working. The one that said “yes” never showed up.

In Jesus’ telling of this story, he points to the religious leaders of his day. They are like the one who said “yes” but did nothing. The religious leaders said “yes” to God, but their “yes” was in accordance to their definition of religious living. Like them, we often say “yes” to God but our yes comes with our own terms.

The “sinners” in Jesus’ story were like the one who said no but changed his mind and eventually said “yes” to God on God’s terms.

Have you ever told God “No! I am NOT ever going to do that,” but then later you end up doing it? Have you ever told God “Yes, I will do that,” but then when push came to shove, you never showed up? I have done both. Some days my “yes” is thwarted by distractions and laziness. Some days my initial laziness and apathy are overcome by my love for God and my longing to make God smile.

For us, the question is the same. Will we go to work today in God’s vineyard?

Allison_Kentle_smAllison Kentle serves as minister to students and families at University Baptist Church in Shawnee, Oklahoma and is passionate about youth ministry. Allison received a Master of Divinity degree from Truett Theological Seminary. She enjoys being creative, reading, and spending time with her husband, Jarris. They are expecting their first child in November.

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