I ask this question. And while its not always so clear.... numerous times over the last few weeks I've heard "Mark 12, child. Read Mark 12."
44 verses, parables, and quotes, and questions, and commandments, and examples....all pointing to love. All pointing to Love.
But this day - it's the vinedressers. It's their story that stirs me.
*(This passage is at the bottom of the post. But if you can, flip open the Scripts with your own hands and read with your own eyes, and be filled.)
I see myself there. Not in the vineyard owner (God). Not in the servants (God's faithful.) But in the vinedressers (those who reject God's message and His messengers.)
How many times have I done this? How many messengers of God have I rejected? Yes - his messengers still come by way of prophets and words and sermons - but also they come....
...in the eyes of a child. In those moments of escalating anger - how they open wide as if saying, "Mother, I'm watching you. Be careful - the way you live your life, Mama, can determine how I end up living mine. With Love or without Him."
...in the eyes of hunger. The child who isn't interested in a full toy box, but in a full tummy - has eyes that not only scrounge for food - but scrounge for the faithful, as if saying, "Who will have compassion on me? Who will show me His love? Anyone?"
...in the eyes of pain. The person who has known loss, affliction, addiction - their faces drawn and tired as if to say "Come to me in His name. Lighten my load even if just a little. All in the name of Love."
And how can I mention God's messengers - without mentioning beauty. Color. Life. Stare at a black-eyed susan....and the flower will stare back at you - as if to say, "See me. Do you see me? I exist. Beauty exists. And because of Him...I open wide my petals and give off glory that only comes from Glory."
I miss the messengers.
And then Jesus Himself....when He knocks (and He does knock) do I hear him? Or does the doubt, the distraction, the daily-grind drowned Him out? Or perhaps I hear Him - and choose to leave the door bolted shut. Rejecting - even Him.
To my own eyes - this brings tears. I don't want to miss the messengers! I don't want anything to deafen my ears to the knocking!
And this.... it's up to me. I choose. Reject, recoil verses receive, rejoice. The choice is mine.
Oh Father - that you would open my eyes to the message. That you would open my ears to the knocking. That my mind would be tilted to the Maker. That I would catch the countenance of the chief cornerstone.
Let me not only see - but go looking. For You. In the utterances,and in the eyes - of the ones you send.
"The only way to see God manifested in the world around is with the eyes of Jesus within."
- Ann Voskamp - One Thousand Gifts
*1 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. 6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.
9 “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture:
'The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord's doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
(New King James Version)