“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will sir,’ but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered. (Matthew 21:28-31)
Several years ago at the Galveston County Fair and Rodeo, there was an 1190-pound steer that was named grand champion. It sold for tens of thousands of dollars, and was slaughtered a few days later. But when vets examined the carcass they found something suspicious. They discovered evidence of what is called “airing.”
To give steers a better appearance, competitors have been known to inject air into their animals’ hides with a syringe or needle attached to a bicycle pump. Pump enough air into them and they’ve got themselves what looks like a grand champion steer. Of course, it’s against the rules. The association running the rodeo withdrew the title and the money from the owner of the steer.
Like that steer, there is such a thing as having a faith full of hot air – a confession confined to our lips but never really revealed through our lives. This could be likened to the second son in the parable who, when his father tells him to go work in the vineyard, replies, “I will sir,” and yet he did not go.
Note that the boy said what the father would want to hear and did it in a courteous and reverent way – “I will, sir;” he just never did what his father wanted him to do. Courtesy is not a substitute for commitment, nor is reverence a substitute for obedience.
This isn’t to say there’s not a place for courtesy, for a promise, for talking about your faith. It’s to say we all have to be wary of becoming “hot air believers.”
It’s not to say we should stop singing songs, it’s to say we must also seek to live out those songs. It’s not to say we should stop praying prayers, it’s to say we should seek to live out those prayers.
The first son makes a “u-turn.” God loves “u-turns.” This isn’t just true for those who’ve been defiant to God early on. It’s true for those of us who’ve been full of hot air.
May God have grace upon us to today as we seek to live our songs, prayers, and promises.
Grace and peace,
Posted on Mon, January 25, 2016
by Chris Seidman