Today’s parable describes a land owner who leaves tenants in charge of his vineyard. But at harvest time the tenants refuse to pay their rent, failing to recognise the landowner’s authority and killing the servants and even the son who are sent for the rent. The tenants appear to have forgotten that the vineyard belongs to the landowner. The tenants had come to believe that they could make up their own rules. They had forgotten that they were accountable. They had certainly forgotten that they had been given responsibilities and entrusted with stewardship.
God is still master of the ‘vineyard’, and we are the new tenants to whom the welfare of the vineyard has been passed on. The parable was originally targeted at the Pharisees, but for us too, the parable demands some degree of self-examination. We might think of ourselves as good people, but like the first tenants, do we constantly fight shy of accountability? Over the years we each develop our own individual code of conduct. Perhaps we begin to feel that as long as we are living by some kind of moral code we no longer need to be accountable. We begin to imagine that ‘being accountable’, is just for those who go round getting things wrong. Living by self-made standards is all well and good, but if we do this are we in danger of forgetting about the very high standards that God has set for us.
What happens when we forget that Christ is our cornerstone? When we make up our own rules with little thought for Jesus’ teachings, the chances are we will fall a long way short of what God expects. Today’s invitation is to raise the bar, step up to the mark, and recognise Christ as our cornerstone.