Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 18 Tending the Vineyard of the Lord

I love wine. I like mostly red wine though, merlot, cabernet, pinot noir. I also enjoy wine tasting and visiting different vineyards. During our honeymoon my wife and I had the opportunity to go wine tasting in the Napa and Sonoma Wine Region. We drove up and down rolling hills and valleys and took in gorgeous scenery along the way.

Jesus uses the image of a vineyard in the gospels to teach us about the kingdom. It is the Lord's vineyard and we are merely workers or laborers in it. Our job is to tend the little patch of ground that we are given; the patch of ground is our local family, our parish, our neighborhood, our co-workers, etc....our job is not to take care of the entire vineyard, that would be impossible! No, God wants us to take care of our little row of grapes.

But you know what the temptation is? To worry about what is going on in the other rows of grapes. To spend all of our time thinking about who is doing what, when, where, and how; meanwhile we are not focusing on the little row of grapes that God has given us.

I fall into this trap all of the time. Pointing my finger at what is not getting done or the people who are lazy or not working hard.

Then I realize that my job is just to take care of that little patch of land that the Lord has given. To cultivate those grapes, weed them, prune them, fertilize them, and let those vines grow and produce wonderful succulent grapes for the harvest.

Of course I"m not just thinking about wine here. Growing grapes is a great image because we are preparing our lives for the harvest. God wants to see fruit from our lives, the fruit is love, mercy, kindness, gentleness, and so forth. These are the fruit that Jesus is speaking about.

If I am too busy about who is doing what when where and how I'll never work hard at growing fruit for the kingdom!

How is your vineyard these days?

Are you worried about what other people are doing or not doing?

Are you tending the little plot of land that God has given you?

Let's share today.......................

(I'm excited about a radio interview that I will have next Monday. I will make sure to post more about it next Tuesday. The program will be recorded and then broadcasted two weeks later.)

Need a book for your prayer group or book club? Why not read A 30 Day Retreat? I know of at least one parish who will be using my book for their summer reading. The short chapters allow for a lot of discussion and sharing faith stories. Pass the word around!!!