What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not, but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? (Mt. 21:28-31)
“This coaching relationship is over,” he said.
The “he” here was Rusty, and he was my pitching coach and mentor when I was 14. What prompted him to say these words was that I hadn’t followed through on an important promise I’d made to him.
In order to make his point sink in, Rusty continued, “Talk is cheap. If you give your word, you keep it. If you make a commitment, you honor it.”
In today’s scripture, Jesus shares a parable about two sons. The first son says no to his father but later does what his father asks. The second son says yes to his father but then doesn’t do what his father asks.
Which son does Jesus commend? The first one, of course. The point Jesus is making in this parable is this: What we do often matters more than what we say.
Many of us sometimes have a gap between what we say and what we do. We over-promise, then under-deliver.
What do we need to do with these “gaps?” I encourage us to do three things.
First, take responsibility for them. Don’t deny them. Don’t blame others. Don’t make excuses. Don’t make light of them.
Second, have the humility to ask for forgiveness. Refusing to ask for forgiveness isn’t a sign of strength; it’s a sign of weakness, stupidity, and arrogance.
Third, ask Jesus for the grace to help close those gaps.
More important than all that Rusty taught me about pitching was the lesson he gave me on integrity. He did end up giving me one more chance, and he helped me to improve my game. By grace, Jesus gives us many chances to help us deepen our faith, improve our lives, and strengthen our relationships.
- Most people have integrity gaps. I sometimes do. Do you? If so, where and how do you need Jesus’ help to close them?
- In today’s parable, Jesus asks us to pay more attention to what the first son does with his feet than to what the second son does with his mouth. What do your feet and mouth reveal?
- The first son in the parable does the will of his father. The second one doesn’t. What does it mean for you to do the will of God the Father?