Jesus told a parable about unworthy hired hands he put in his vineyard to provide him with a rich vintage. Does he mean this parable for us? Are there ways in which we should see ourselves as those hired hands who do not give his share to the owner of the vineyard?
For help in reaching honest answers to those questions let's look at the actual vineyards and hired hands in the Holy Land back then.
From the time of Moses, those people had a religious law against growing different crops in the same fields. However, there was an exception for a newly planted vineyard, since it could not produce a vintage in its first four years. And, that exception allowed workmen in the first three years to grow vegetables between the vines.
All of the listeners to the parable of Jesus, understood that the dispute between the owner and the villains in his parable had to do with hired hands who were so rapped up in growing their own crops that they neglected giving the master his do.
Our climate here in north Florida is the envy of millions of people stuck in the world's refugee camps. We are in possession of the Lord's vineyard, but, do we use it to provide a full harvest to the Lord and his poor, or do we claim it all for ourselves?
We will give his due to the owner of this vineyard if we practice the Works of Mercy. The Corporal Works of Mercy are: Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Shelter the Homeless, Visit the Sick, Visit the Prisoners, Bury the Dead.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are: Instruct the Ignorant, Counsel the Doubtful, Admonish the Sinners, Bear Patiently those who Wrong us, Forgive Offenses, Pray for the Living and the Dead.
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