One night the captain of a tanker saw a light dead ahead. He directed his signalman to flash a signal to the light which went.....
'Change course 10 degrees South.'
The reply was quickly flashed back...
'You change course 10 degrees North.'
The captain was a little annoyed at this reply and sent a further message.....
'I am a captain. Change course 10 degrees South.'
Back came the reply....
'I am an able-seaman. Change course 10 degrees North.'
The captain was outraged at this reply and send a message....
'I am a 240,000 ton tanker. CHANGE course 10 degrees South!'
Back came the reply.......
'I am a LIGHTHOUSE. Change course 10 degrees North!!!!'
28 "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.'
29 " 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go.
31 "Which of the two did what his father wanted?"
"The first," they answered.
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 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.
They say attitude is everything. I would generally agree but not when attitude is all you get! Attitude without action is like a barking dog without a bite. There is sound and fury which ultimately signifies nothing.
The first son had a bad attitude. He did not want to work or obey the father. We are not told what he wanted to do instead. The bible does not talk about the xbox or playing with friends. We are not even sure what game was on the tv that day. What we do know is that he did not want to go and work.
The second son had a great attitude ... at least on paper. He said he was willing but ultimately did nothing. He did not act on what he knew. Maybe he got distracted.
Both sons had opportunity to reflect on the father. One changed his mind (v.29) for the better. The word μεταμέλομαι (metamelomai) refers to feeling remorse afterward and changing direction because of it. You might feel this after grounding a teen for 30 years and realizing this was in the heat of the moment, a bit aggressive, and should have only been 10 years!
The first son reflected on the grace and goodness of his father and changed his course.
The second son did not reflect on his dad and chose to not do anything. He was negligent of his responsibility and his pledge. I cannot judge him ... I relate to him. I have so many good intentions and unfulfilled promises in my wake.
Jesus is making a point. At the preaching of John the Baptist the folks were invited to reflect on the Father. The "sinners" did this. Those that had rejected the Father's direction were having a change of heart. They felt the regret of rejecting Him. These represent the first son.
The religious folks were the ones always saying "yes" to the Father but not doing anything about it. They were active in the ministry. They were busy. They were religious. Just not obedient. Just unwilling to do what the Father asked of them.
So, in the world of Jesus Christ, the prostitute and thief have more honor than the religious leader. The son who changes his mind and does what the father desires has more honor than the other son who was all words, no action.
Who was right with dad at the dinner table that night?
Praise the Lord, you do not have to be perfect. You might even be a prostitute ... if you will come to the Lord and do what He says you will have more honor than a "perfect", church-going, insulated, proud prig.
So, what is the desire of the Father?
1. To recognize that He is the Lighthouse of life. That we change the direction of our lives 10 degrees North because of Him. That we turn from our prostitution and stealing to Him. To repent and believe. To come under His care and grace.
2. That we come to the Father daily and direct ourselves to His settings. To stay humble and not think ourselves so mighty that we will not listen carefully ... and act.
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.