Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.”
Mark 12:1 (NIV)

Most of you will be familiar with this parable. You know how it ends: the evil tenants kill the son. It’s a parable of how we, the human race, treat God, our creator and owner of the land we live on.

Today, however, I want to focus on the vineyard He built because this parable also tells us about the vineyard He rents to us, as individuals. This vineyard consisted of four main parts.

  1. Vines: Our natural talents, skills, and passions.
  2. Wall: God’s laws, commandments, and our individual boundaries.
  3. Winepress: Where the hard work takes place.
  4. Watchtower: A place above it all.

Vineyard

First, He planted the vineyard. God plants within each of us a set of skills, talents, and passions. These grow naturally in our lives but do require care to make them fruitful. We can refer back to the parable about the talents. We need to invest what we have to build fruitful and healthy vineyards. Our lives require pruning, weeding, and cultivating to give the vines the best chance of producing a bumper crop. 

Wall

Our Father puts a wall around us. This wall is meant to protect and is comprised of the rules and laws He laid out in His Word, but also in the specific boundaries of our lives. These individual boundaries include where God puts us, who to build relationships with, and what He asks us to do. Conversely, it includes the where not to go, who not to tie our lives to, and what not to do.

We all have a tendency to burrow holes through the walls when we don’t want to keep within His commands. What we don’t realize is that a hole creates a weakness in the entire structure and also makes a way for threats to enter. Not only can we get out through the hole we made, others can get in. 

Winepress

He also dug a pit for the winepress. This is where the hard work of developing our natural skills and resources into something beneficial and lasting takes place. Grapes left on the vine will wither and rot. 

Transformation happens in the winepress. Grapes are pressed and crushed so the juices can be extracted to make wine. I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I do know that good wine will last ages and the older it is the better it gets. 

God wants our work to last into the next age. The winepress is not a fun place to be, but it is well worth the effort to transform our natural skills into something that will benefit the lives of those around us.

Watchtower

And finally, He built a watchtower. A place above the daily grind where we can get a good view of our vineyard. From here, we can see what we missed when working in the middle of everything. 

From above, we begin to notice patterns that seem off or inconsistency that needs to be corrected. The beauty we missed while pulling weeds comes into focus. Here above the daily routine, we get a clearer view of the life we are creating.

We can also scan the territory around us and keep an eye out for dangers or opportunities that we can’t see behind the wall. We can view the road that leads to our vineyard and be prepared to welcome friends or guard against enemies. 

 

What does all this mean? We are blessed with a gracious Father who provides everything we need to live productive, fruitful lives. He has given us the land, the seed, the tools, and the wisdom to be successful. We need to keep the vines pruned, maintain the integrity of the walls, do the hard work in the winepress, and routinely step in the watchtower to get a view from above. 

May we be better tenants than those in the original parable and welcome the Landowner when He returns.

Father, thank You for Your many gifts. Help us to be fruitful and productive in how we use the skills and resources You have placed within us. Show us how to tend the vineyard, keep within the walls, work the winepress, and watch in the tower. You are a good and gracious Father, thank You for allowing us to steward what you have given us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,

Michelle

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