Posted by Craig Borlase on 28 January 2015

Anyone who reads the Bible cover to cover knows that there are certain themes which return again and again. In fact, anyone who’s vaguely human in any way knows that most of the time the mistakes we make are not brand new ones that we’ve never encountered before. Most of our slip-ups, let-downs and failures are depressingly familiar.

Remember the parable that Jesus told about the land owner who wanted to collect rent from his tenants? For many of us it perfectly illustrates the old habits that we find hard to break.

Jesus shared the story after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and used it as a response to those who were questioning his authority. To his audience, the vineyard was a familiar metaphor for Israel, and the caring, careful owner we see at the start has all the hallmarks of God.

Yet the tenants, like Israel and one or two others throughout history, struggle to get a handle on where their responsibilities and power ends and the owner’s takes over. They forget who’s boss, and the results are not pretty.

So much of their behaviour is familiar to us today. The tenants act like they are the owners. They are defensive, aggressive, strategic, blind to the authority of the messengers and they refused to give even a sample, not the whole. Their stance appears to be ‘this is ours, we don’t owe anyone anything.’

Their desire to put themselves - their wishes, their agendas, their appetites - at the centre of the story world is as much our Achilles heel as theirs. We construct so many parts of our lives - our finance, our career, our relationships, our parenting, our church roles, our gifts - around the pursuit of our own desires. Instead of discovering the true freedom that comes in serving the perfect master - the one who constructs the perfect vineyard in which we can live - we exist in our own limited kingdoms, fearful of change, resentful of authority.

From this comes all manner of problems.

This is not a post about worship leading. This is a post about being human. Like every other human being that ever has and ever will live on this planet we are prone to messing up, to falling short, to sinning.

So the question is this: how well do you know your Achilles heel?

Or perhaps it’s this: are there messengers or messages that we are ignoring?

Or this: what are we holding on to that we really don't own?

Or maybe the challenge is just this: Jesus’ parable provoked the pharisees enough to kill. It touched the rawest of nerves. What does it do to us? How do we react to it? If it leaves us cold, are we really ok with that?

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