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“RENTER OR LANDLORD” – Mar. 18

March 18, 2013

“And he began to speak to them in parables.  “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased to tenants and went into another country.” Mark 12:1

For RentThe company I work for does not own its office space.  We lease the building from a most unreasonable landlord.  This landlord has no compassion or understanding for our condition.  These economic times have been difficult.  Yet, our landlord still expects a lease payment every month. 

We are the ones who take care of the building.  It is by our labor that value is created in this building.  If it wasn’t for us, this building would be a vacant shell.  We are doing him a favor by occupying this building for him.  He needs us but has never even thanked us for what we do for him.  He just expects a slice of the pie that he has never earned.  We have been in this same building for so long, most people think that we own it.  No one around here even knows this landlord.  He lives in another state and has not even been to the office in years.  He is just sitting back profiting from our hardship. 

I have had enough of this nonsense.  I have convinced the partners of the company that this oppression needs to end and we should stop making our lease payments.  We have been here long enough that this building should be ours.  Our landlord is just going to give this property to his son when we are the ones who have earned it.  We should be the ones who inherit this building.

The landlord sent us a friendly reminder when we missed our first payment.  How rich was that?  He then tried to telephone us when we missed our second payment.  There was no need to even answer that call.  He then sent one of his flunkies to come and talk to us when we missed our third payment.  We told him what was what and sent him on his way with a swift kick to the backside.  When we missed our fourth payment, our landlord sent his son.  The guy who is going to inherit our building; the one who is claiming what we have earned.  We settled things once and for all. 

Yet, here I sit in this prison cell.  I still don’t understand how the jury could not recognize our right to the inheritance of our building. 

In reality, the landlord of the office where I work is a very nice man.  The underlying motivation of a renter like the one described above is a desire to be the landlord.  It is the same issue for the tenants of the vineyard in Mark 12.  They wanted to own the land.  They wanted the inheritance.  They didn’t want to be obligated to give up anything that they had grown.

This attitude is a rebellion against the rightful owner of the property.  Property rights are not transferred even when tenants act as if they do not have a landowner.  They can go all the way to the extent of killing the heir of the rightful owner but even that does not transfer ownership.

This is what the rejection of Christ’s claim to our lives looks like at its core; it is a rejection of God as the landlord of our lives.  It is a rebellion against God.

Do you live your life as a tenant or as a landowner?  

A person who thinks they are Lord of their life will say, “It’s my body. It’s my life. It’s my money. It’s my house. These are my possessions. I don’t owe anyone anything. I worked hard for all of this.  This is my reward for being smart or clever or entrepreneurial; Its all mine.”  Landlords can make those types of decisions.  That’s not an attitude of a tenant.  That is not an attitude of gratitude.

That is the attitude a thief that is taking possession of something that is not rightfully his own.

The ownership of the fruit of our lives is a battlefield over who will be Lord of our hearts.  When we fight to keep the fruit of our life, we are declaring our lordship; landowners keep the fruit.  We are pretending that we are the owner of our own life.  There is no man who can nullify the rightful claim of his Creator.

Do you have a history of thinking that God is very far away;

Do you think that God doesn’t care about fruit;

Have you convinced yourself that God needs you;

The owner, in Mark 12, expects to get some fruit.  The premise here is that God holds accountable His servants for making fruit, spiritual fruit, based on what they have been given.  A follower of Christ fights the battle within their own flesh to live ALL- IN for God.  A follower of Christ desires to love God with everything that they are.  They love God because he did send his Son – while they were still a rebellious tenant – He sent his Son to be rejected but through that rejection he would become our salvation.  That is why we long to be good tenants.

I think that we all know that we can be better tenants.  I don’t want to be the type of renter that has to be constantly hounded because of late payments.  I don’t want to be the type of tenant that needs collection agents sent every month to make sure I am not trying to steal from God.  I do not want to be the type of tenant that has to be reminded that the things I love so much are not really mine.

I want to be the type of tenant that is producing fruit in abundance and willingly giving back to my Lord in gratitude for what He has given me.

However, it is so easy to start assuming the role of lord of my life.

 What am I doing with my body?  Am I glorifying God with my body?

What am I doing with my family?  Am I glorifying God with my family?

What am I doing with my money? Am I glorifying God with my money?

What am I doing with my time? Am I glorifying God with my time?

All of those areas are not mine; they belong to God and I am going to have to give an account.

I want to be a fruitful vine.  Here again is the good news.  I can’t be a fruitful vine on my own.  God is here to forgive us, to correct us, and to instruct us.  He has sent his Spirit to rebuild the unfruitful parts of our lives so that they might be fruitful.   That is God’s will for our life – our sanctification that we may produce fruit that is glorifying to him.

Our first step is to understand that He is Lord and we are tenants.

PRAYER: Lord, I know am prone to wander, I know that I am prone to leave the God that I love; I know that my nature is to claim all that I have.  Lord, bind me to you.  Remind me that all that I have has been given from you.  Father, make me into a grateful servant and a fruitful vine.   Amen

10 comments

  1. […] Have an attitude of Gratitude10 Ways To Start Your Day With Love and Gratitude —eHarmony BlogWhy Gratitude Will Save Your Life (& 7 Ways to Increase It Starting Today)Day 22: Gratitude [31 Days of Possibility] byWhat to Consider When Buying a New Camera for Street Photography — Eric Kim Street Photography“RENTER OR LANDLORD” – Mar. 18 […]


  2. Thanks for the insight into Yeshua’s parable of the Landlord and tenants. Thanks for helping to make it more personal. Deep down inside, I know I’m a tenant and am grateful to have the best Land-Lord (and Lord of All) ever. Yet, I don’t always act that way. Sometimes in certain circumstances, it’s easy to forget. Sometimes in certain circumstances, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact all belongs to God and is His to do as He (in His pure and wise heart) desires. Thanks for the reminder and also for bringing deeper clarification on the application of this parable to me personally! God bless you in Yeshua the Messiah’s Name.


  3. That is a really great post! Thank you for writing it!
    It’s something I definitely should take time to ponder over and make changes where necessary.


  4. This makes me think about the last time I looked at that parable in Mark and Luke’s account.


  5. Thank you for posting this. I truly needed this message. God Bless you!


  6. It’s when we forget that we are tenants, not owners, when we forget 1 Cor 6:19-20, that we become those to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you.” Thanks for the timely reminder.


  7. I agree totally! What I do with God’s property (me) matters! a lot! Thanks for a good read!


  8. It is easy to read parables like this one and think, Oh, I would never be like that, but really brings it home when you make the circumstance so personal. Thanks for the heart check today!


  9. Well said! I know I often act like I’m the landlord and not the renter. Thanks for the reminder.


  10. Wonderful post! We need to remember that He made everything by Himself and for Himself. Sadly, still today we are too often like the Israelites to whom Amos spoke saying, “They do not know how to do right,” declares the LORD, “those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds.” (Amos 3:10 (ESV)) – newsfromthenorthside.wordpress.com



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