Wicked Vineyard

This is currently my favorite passage in the Bible.

I went through a few month stretch when I was a youth pastor when I no longer claimed to be a Christian. I didn't act like it. I just taught the Scriptures to the teens until I was sure of what I believed. If it was just a phase, I didn't want to make any rash decisions. That might scare some of you who have your children under the care of a youth pastor, and rightfully so.

On a side note - The spiritual upbringing of your children is dependent upon you. You have no idea what a youth pastor might be teaching your children. Get involved in your children's spiritual lives. You are their pastor. God gave them to you to take care of.

Anyway, I almost quit being a Christian because of Christians. I looked around the world and saw that the most loving people weren't Christians. It confused me. I was reading Gandhi's biography and studying his life. I was reading a bunch of new-age writings. I was confused. I was confused why the people of God weren't who God wanted them to be. I wanted to be a loving person helping the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the sick, and the church didn't seem to be a place for a person with those desires. A person with those desires seems to be in a constant battle trying to get their church to step up and do them. (Another aside - Rick Warren,of Purpose Driven fame, is trying to feed all the homeless in Orange County this fall. I think that is an awesome example of the following.) I was discouraged and ready to give up on God when a verse from the Scriptures changed my heart.

(Isa 5:1-7 NASB) "Let me sing now for my well-beloved A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. {2} And He dug it all around, removed its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it, And hewed out a wine vat in it; Then He expected it to produce good grapes, But it produced only worthless ones. {3} "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge between Me and My vineyard. {4} "What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? {5} "So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. {6} "And I will lay it waste; It will not be pruned or hoed, But briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it." {7} For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress."

God's people were a bad example of who God was, and, in many cases, they still are. But God tells each of us to judge Him not by His fallen people but by who He is. "Judge between me and my vineyard."

That became my salvation. I began to look at God rather than his people and began to strive to live my life and change churches to be the type of place that God could say, "Look at them and see Me." That is my prayer. I think it will always be my prayer. I don't want to be a person that gets in the way of people seeing God, but someone who shows God through who I am and what I do. I don't want to be part of a church that is a deterrent to people seeing God. I want to be a part of a church that is a light shinging in the community.

No longer should God have to say, "Judge between me and my vineyard."

Watch out for the potholes.