“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him." ~ Matthew 21:28-32
I love the way Jesus opened this parable, "What do you think?". Many people never really stop to think about their relationship to the Father. It's not enough to hear the Father's voice, we must obey Him. It's not enough to say, "I go, sir" and then not go! We must be "doers of the Word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22). If we only hear the Father and never obey Him then we are "deceiving" ourselves.
It's interesting to me that the man in this parable had two sons and he told them both "go and work in the vineyard today". God has something for all of His children to do. We are all called to work in the vineyard. We are all expected to work towards a great harvest. Sadly, it doesn't take very long to realize that not all of God's children are involved in His work. Many of His children are like the son who said he would go, but did not go. They say they have faith, but do they?
Others never really seem to be the 'spiritual' leaders that stand out from the crowd. They struggle with their faith. They might come from some pretty crazy backgrounds and some within the church will never completely trust them or believe that they are the real deal. They have perhaps spent the majority of their lives living for themselves and being disobedient to the Father. They are like the son that heard the Fathers command, "Son, go and work in the vineyard today" and like that son they answered, "I will not". But somewhere along the way they hear His voice and change their mind (repentance) and go.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! ~ James 2:14-19
I think there will be some folks surprised one day when they see the Father welcoming in folks from this second group. These folks may not have the spiritual pedigree of others but they heard the voice of the father, believed Him, repented, and got busy in the fields.
What do you think? Which of the two did the will of the Father? Which of the two do you relate to? Are you the son that says "I will go" but never does or are you the son that might struggle at first but then surrenders to the Father and goes?