Jesus’ parable about the vineyard provides the reader with several important truths about stewardship. For example, Jesus emphasized the fact that we are blessed with many benefits. In the story the vineyard owner provided everything for the tenants, including the land, the wall, the tower, and the vines. When you think about it, everything we have is a blessing from God that He has entrusted to us.
Then, the vineyard owner left and went to a far country. While he was gone he requested no progress reports. One of the issues we have with stewardship is that we tend to forget who owns the vineyard. The longer we utilize God’s blessings without acknowledging his ownership, the more likely we are to view his gifts as our possessions. That’s how stewardship becomes ownership. As I’ve mentioned, ownership is the fundamental issue of stewardship. Everyday, through thankfulness and praise, we can be reminded of who owns the vineyard.
The next lesson from the parable is that harvest time reveals the heart. When the tenants had nothing, they readily agreed to give the owner his portion of the harvest. But as the harvest became plentiful, the tenants became increasingly possessive of the fruit. As long as there are no grapes, there is no problem. The crisis comes when we get something we can call our own.
Finally, Jesus reminds us that the Master expects a return on his investment. In the parable, the owner of the vineyard returned to see the results of the tenants work and to receive his portion of the harvest. God has created us with the capacity to be productive, not preserving. God has entrusted us with many blessings in order that we might reinvest those blessings in our communities and our world. Remember, we are rivers, not reservoirs!
Stewardship begins right where you are today. Often someone will ask, “What would you do if someone gave you a million dollars?” But the question is not “What would you do with a million dollars?” The real question is “What are you doing with the $10 in your pocket right now?”