June 20th, 2015| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


I bought a new home a few weeks ago.

From a colleague of mine from Dallas Seminary, Timothy Warren. (To read his preaching philosophy, go here.) Timothy and his wife weren’t ready to move out just yet; their new place of residence elsewhere had things to be done to it.

So the Warrens became … my tenants. Paying me rent. Well, for a few days.

My association with Timothy goes back almost two decades.It began with him being my teacher. Then I became his friend. Later his colleague. Soon I became a neighbor. Now I am his landlord!

[In my dedication to him of my published dissertation from the University of Aberdeen, I acknowledged that of all of these relationships I had with Timothy, the most important was “brother in Christ.”]

But I was thrilled to bits to be his landlord now. My, how times have changed! I received rent. From Timothy!

Well, it was in the contract. The fine print established the rent per day and he had to ante up. I was his landlord! In an email the other day, Timothy called me “O most noble slum lord.”


One way or another, mansion or slum, I was his landlord, and he.owed.me.rent.

To his credit, he did perform his duties to his “lord,” and made his contribution. Unlike these folks …

And He [Jesus] began to speak to them in parables:
“A man planted a vineyard … and leased it to tenant farmers, and went away on a journey.
And he sent a slave to the tenant farmers at the right time [of harvest]

in order to receive of the fruits of the vineyard from the tenant farmers.”
Mark 12:1–2

You know the story. The owner seeks fruit (i.e., rent) from his tenant farmers, who refuse to do give him his due—they are fruitless. Instead the collection agents of the owner are abused with increasing violence: they are beaten (12:3), struck on the head (12:4), and killed (12:5).

“And taking him, they beat and sent [him back] empty-handed.
And again he sent them another slave; that one they struck on the head
and treated shamefully. And he sent another; that one they killed;
and many others, some of whom were beaten, some others killed.”
Mark 12:3–5

A complete rejection of the owner’s wishes and his representatives, and of the owner himself—pure, unadulterated rebellion.

Of course, the landowner is God, and mot giving God, the owner, his rent is equivalent to rebellion. Fruitfulness is not just a matter of productivity; in fact, towards God it is a responsibility, a duty. Fruit/rent is owed God, the owner of all things!

Finally, with utter disregard for the owner, even his son [Jesus], who the landlord had expected would gain some respect, was killed.

“He had one more, a beloved son;
he sent him last to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
But those tenant farmers said to one another,
‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
And taking [him], they killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.”
Mark 12:6–8

But God has the last word, and the parable makes Jesus’ point clearly: the rejection of Jesus and denying God his “rent” (fruit) will result in punishment.

“What will the lord of the vineyard do?
He will come and destroy the tenant farmers and give the vineyard to others.”
Mark 12:9

This is a lesson for disciples as well; fruitlessness is a serious matter.

Yup, the Lord, and his tenants, and his due. I, and the Warrens, and my rent.

Share Your Thoughts

Copyright © 2012 Homiletix  |  Blog theme by ThemeShift customized by Gurry Design  |  Full sitemap