Yes or No? A Parable of Two Sons

Theme: Faithfulness in our service to God and to others. Proper 21 (26) Year A
Object: A rake and some trash bags
Scripture: The Parable of the Two Sons: Matthew 21:28-32

Has your mother or your father ever asked you to help out around the house by doing some chores? I'm sure that has probably happened to you. This morning I am going to tell a story about a father who had two sons named John and William. One day dad walked into John's room to find him building a model airplane. "John, we had a lot of wind last night and there are leaves scattered all over the yard. Would you please rake the leaves and put them in these trash bags?" dad asked.

"Aw Dad, I don't have time to rake the leaves. I am working on this model airplane and I really want to finish it today," John answered.

The father turned and left the room and went to look for William. He found William watching TV. "William, there are a lot of leaves in the yard. Would you please rake the leaves and put them in these bags?" dad asked.

"Sure, I'd be glad to," William answered.

"Great!" said dad. "I'll leave the rake and the trash bags in the yard."

After his father left, John began to think about what he had asked him to to do. "I can rake the leaves and still have plenty of time to finish my model airplane later," John thought to himself. He went outside and began raking the leaves.

When dad returned home, he saw John raking leaves. "Where is William?" dad asked.

"I don't know. The last time I saw him he was watching TV," John replied.

When dad went into the house, guess what he saw? There sat William, still watching TV! I wonder which of the two sons pleased his father? John, who said he wouldn't rake the leaves, but did -- or William, who said he would rake the leaves, but didn't?

In our Bible lesson today, Jesus told a similar story to show how different people obey what God has called them to do. In Jesus' parable of the two sons, the father asked both sons to go and work in his vineyard. Just as the two boys in my story, one son answered, "No," but went and worked. The other son answered "yes" did not go. In telling the story, Jesus wanted us to realize that what we do is more important than what we say we will do. Jesus wants us to answer, "Yes," when he tells us to "Love one another," but what he really wants is for us to love one another! Jesus wants us to answer, "Yes," when he says,"Follow me," but what he really wants is for us to follow him! That's the kind of child I want to be. Isn't it the kind of child you want to be?

Father, sometimes we say, "Yes," but our actions say, "No." Help us to be faithful to do what you have called us to do. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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