The Two Sons

Lou Lotz

READ : Matthew 21:28-32

Which of the two did the will of his father? (v. 31)

Think of all the ways people are evaluated. College
admission boards, when judging
between students, ask: Which one had the best grades in
high school? But Jesus asks: “Which
one did the will of his father?” Ministers are often
judged by the size of their flock, or
their eloquence in the pulpit. But Jesus asks: “Which one
did the will of his father?”
Judges select a coach of the year, a Miss America, a
tournament MVP. But Jesus asks: “Which
one did the will of his father?”

One son promises to go and work in the vineyard, but
doesn’t go. The other son refuses
to go, but then has a change of heart and goes. “Which
one did the will of his father?” You
know which one.

Think of the promises we make to God. When delivered
from trouble of our own making, we
promise never to commit that sin again. I will go, sir.”
When a financial windfall comes,
we promise to tithe. “I will go, sir.” When the doctor
tells us that the lump in our breast
is a harmless cyst, we vow to live a life of gratitude.
“I will go, sir.” But we have not gone.

The Parable of the Two Sons holds promise: no matter how
we have misbehaved in the past, we can repent and begin
anew. But the parable also holds warning: what counts
with God is righteous conduct, not well-intentioned
promises. It is one thing to profess a faith, it is
quite another to practice it.


Forgive me, Father, for professing my faith more than practicing it. Amen.