Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. Isaiah 5:1-2
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
We know the Bible contains many passages and parables about vineyards, the farmers who tend them and the fruits they are supposed to produce.
There is little doubt our Lord Jesus Christ knew this passage from Isaiah and made reference to it in some of His parables. The passage from Isaiah 5:1-2 is short, simple and easy to remember.
Along with that, it can hold deep meaning for our present and eternal lives.
When you read the entire passage, you can sense the frustration of the vineyard owner who has done everything necessary to produce a good harvest. Indeed, he has done more than enough to assure a positive result. Sadly, when the crop is brought in, the grapes are bitter and sour.
In spite of his work, the product produced is worthless.
That is a feeling we, too, can understand. Many of us feel bad for the poor returns we have sometimes received from our jobs, our families, our lives, and in the work God has given us through the Great Commission.
I sometimes wonder how much greater is our Father's sadness at not seeing wonderful fruits produced as we respond to Jesus' sacrifice for us?
In contrast, how much happiness and joy do we feel when we see the wonderful results brought about by the Holy Spirit when He touches the lives of those who have not known their Savior? At such times we join with the heavenly host in our gladness. How did Jesus say it? He told us, "There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10b).
As well there ought to be. For the forgiveness and salvation of humankind Jesus entered this world. Here He gave His life, His all, to paying the ransom price necessary to rescue us. His work, placed into our hearts by the Holy Spirit's power, changes our eternal destiny from damnation to salvation.
Truly, there ought to be rejoicing.
And there ought to be something else. We who have been saved are the Lord's vines who are set aside to do His will. It is right we produce works that are suitable for presentation to the Lord.
In John 21:15, the Savior placed a question before Peter. He asked, "Simon, do you love Me more than these?" Peter replied in the affirmative. That's when Jesus told him to feed His sheep and lambs. My friends, I encourage you to substitute your name for that of Peter in that passage. If you do, you will hear how the Lord speaks also to you.
The Lord has done everything for us and even more. He has given us a fertile hillside, fenced it, protected us, and removed the stones. Now He hopes the results of His work will produce delicious, and not sour, grapes.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may the Holy Spirit use us to point people to Your Son and the salvation He has won. Grant that we might be encouraged in our daily work for You and Your mission. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Edilberto Méndez Mora. Mr. Mora has been a contributor and volunteer at our office, Christ for All Nations - Panama, since 1992. He has been a member of our staff since 1997 and our director since 2004. Lutheran Hour Ministries has been working in Panama since 1985. It was recognized by the Panamanian State in 1996 as a religious, non-profit entity, which serves society and has as its primary purpose the proclamation of the Word of God to unbelievers.
With its ministry center in Panama City, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Panama makes Gospel connections through printed materials, "live" events, mass media and the Internet, holistic outreach, and other means in this Central American country of more than 3.5 million people. Using Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), individuals are instructed in the basic tenets of the Christian faith and how to put them into operation in their lives. Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops train laypeople to share their faith with others, in order to build bridges via the Gospel. Helping young people make healthy lifestyle choices is the role of Project JOEL, a program teaching faith-based values that has been successfully integrated into the curricula of public schools, giving teachers a valuable resource to help them foster and promote constructive values.
You can read how this ministry center participated in recent Easter celebrations in Panama and watch a video by clicking here and visiting its blog.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries