The Two Sons

Lou Lotz

Read: Matthew 21:28-32

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

My father loved maxims. He had a pithy proverb for every situation. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. This too shall pass. Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today. All’s well that ends well. Better safe than sorry. One of his favorite maxims was: It’s never too late to do the right thing.

“A man had two sons,” says Jesus. One son promises to go and work in the vineyard: “I go, sir.” But he does not follow through. The other son initially refuses to go and work in the vineyard. But then, feeling perhaps that it is not too late to do the right thing, he has a change of heart: “He changed his mind and went.” Jesus asks: “Which of the two did the will of his father?” You know which one.

The parable of the two sons is brimming with hope. For many of us, the past is a place of pain, regret, and broken promises. But no matter what we have done in the past, and no matter what the past has done to us, we can still begin anew. What happened yesterday does not have to determine what we do today. It is not too late to have a change of heart. There is still work to be done in the father’s vineyard, and workers are still needed.

But the parable also whispers a warning. Lofty, well-intentioned promises are not enough. You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do. —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Father, help me to practice my faith as much as I profess it.