‘He began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard.”’ Mark 12:1-2
Vineyards would seem to be an especially long term expenditure of time, money and effort. In this Gospel story Jesus wants us to the see the great value the man placed on his vineyard. He was so concerned with its ultimate success that he was willing to put a fence around it, build a watchtower and wine press and lease it to tenant farmers.
Our children, or rather the children God gives us, are very much like the plants in the vineyard; we work at them a long time before realizing whether or not we're going to have a harvest. Raising a family is the closest analogy I can think of to a ‘long term expenditure of time, money and effort’.
Currently I’m just past the middle of the endeavor. My ‘vines’ are only three quarters grown. They haven’t produced any grapes yet. There’s always the possibly they never will.
Wine production is a risky business. I can certainly empathize with the man in Jesus’ parable. This parenting stuff is a lot of work and the outcome is uncertain at best. So is the fate of Our Lord’s story. We all know what happens to those sent to collect produce on this vineyard. They got beaten, treated shamefully and killed. Is any of this worth it?
Some days being a parent doesn’t seem worth it either. But it is.
This has been a rough week for me a mom. I’m dealing with a teenager in the middle of a crisis. Looking back on my own life, it’s not the worst thing that could ever happen, but it’s also far from the best.
But as I read these words which occur later on in this same selection from the Gospel of Mark, I find great comfort, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes.” Mark 12:10-11
Sunshine and rain are both necessary for the healthy development of grapes. Just so, successes and trials are necessary for our children’s emotional maturity. May He grant us enough of each!