The real estate market has gone crazy in the Outer Banks. The inventory of houses for sale is so low that people are able to sell their houses pretty much “as is” for a significantly higher price than a year ago. My daughter is trying to find a house in Florida and had an appointment to see a house thirty minutes after it hit the MLS. Her realtor called to cancel the appointment an hour later. It was sold to a family who made a full price offer sight unseen two hours after it was listed.
If you’ve ever been a renter, a prospective homeowner, or a landlord, you know how volatile the whole situation can be. I have been all three and my least favorite role is as the landlord. It is always a scary situation to put your home in the hands of someone else. You just pray for tenants who will respect your property. Entrusting your asset to a stranger is hard to do.
Jesus once told a story about the tension between a land owner and his renters. It does not go well.
Matthew 21 (Contemporary English Version)
33 Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story:
A land owner once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.
34 When it was harvest time, the owner sent some servants to get his share of the grapes. 35 But the renters grabbed those servants. They beat up one, killed one, and stoned one of them to death. 36 He then sent more servants than he did the first time. But the renters treated them in the same way.
37 Finally, the owner sent his own son to the renters, because he thought they would respect him. 38 But when they saw the man’s son, they said, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 39 So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40 Jesus asked, “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those renters?”
If you are beginning to recognize this parable as an allegory about Jesus and the way he was treated by the people to whom he was sent, you are on the right track. Remember it starts with “Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story.”
41 The chief priests and leaders answered, “He will kill them in some horrible way. Then he will rent out his vineyard to people who will give him his share of grapes at harvest time.”
42 Jesus replied, “You surely know that the Scriptures say,
‘The stone that the builders
is now the most important
stone of all.
This is something
the Lord has done,
and it is amazing to us.’
It was foretold that the rejection of Jesus would lead to the inclusivity of all nations. It was part of God’s plan for the redemption of the world…but that still didn’t let them off the hook.
43 I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands. 44 Anyone who stumbles over this stone will be crushed, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.”
Harsh words indeed for those who had only been renting the Kingdom anyway. But in that regard, we are all just renting. The challenge for us then is to respect all that we have been entrusted with as though it was our own. Every resource we have is a gift of God.
Jesus reminds us that he has promised us a room in a mansion in heaven that he has gone ahead to prepare. Until then, take great care of all that has been entrusted to you on earth.