Renters on God’s Earth

Youth Daily Devotional Blog: 06/30

Written by: Intern Sam B. Nguyen
Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:33-45
I, like many college students, rent an apartment. It’s a pretty good deal, if I say so myself, with plenty of room to live, study, and jam out to music. While I definitely would prefer to live in a space that I could work towards owning on my own, anyone can tell you that renting is wisest for someone whose life needs a lot of flexibility, which is just about where I am.

Now, renting can be freeing in some ways, but it does limit what I can do with my space. For example, I can’t paint the walls, and I can’t really hang things up since that risks damaging the walls. That said, I think I’m a pretty good tenant — that’s the word generally used for people who rent a space. In today’s passage, Jesus paints a picture of tenants who are far worse than I could ever imagine being. Not only do they mess up the owner’s land, they beat up his servants and kill his son!

While this image seems pretty intense, Jesus uses it as a kind of public call-out to the high priests and people in power at the time. It’s representative of how God has entrusted the world to humanity, or more specifically to those in power, and they have abused and hurt it. And, as God has sent prophet after prophet, spiritual leader after spiritual leader, and even his son eventually, those in power have continually refused to return what God has lent them. And so, as the parable makes clear, the world will be taken from these bad tenants — those in power — and given to those who will better use the land and better respect the original owner — God.