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At Work in the Vineyard ~ SoS Saturday

vineyard with workers
photo credit: Winter pruning Granton Vineyard Tasmania via photopin (license)

Today we hear the voice of one who has spoken little in this Song of Songs, the narrator. For the most part the song is a dialog between Shepherd King and the Shulamite, with some soliloquy sprinkled in and a chorus giving us the color commentary. But here as we near the end, a neutral voice comes in to give us a statement of fact.

Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers.
Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit.

Song of Songs 8:11 NASB

Let’s break it down.

Solomon is the king, and we’ve considered him a type of Christ in the Song. He is our Shepherd King.

Baal-hammon literally translates as “lord (possessor) of abundance” or “lord of a multitude.” There is no such place mentioned anywhere in the rest of the Bible, nor has any reference been found elsewhere to such a place, so it might be better to look at it for its meaning than for its location.

This is my take: King Jesus has a fertile global vineyard.

Israel is known as God’s vineyard.

Let me sing now for my well-beloved
A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard.
My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
He dug it all around, removed its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
And He built a tower in the middle of it
And also hewed out a wine vat in it;
Then He expected it to produce good grapes,
But it produced only worthless ones.

Isaiah 5:1-2 NASB

Jesus has a vineyard, and it’s the Church. We are His vineyard.

Next we see that He entrusted His vineyard to caretakers. Now he’s talking about you and me. You’ve been placed in His worldwide vineyard and set to tend to His fields—vines.

Perhaps your saying to yourself, I’m not a pastor. I’m no leader in the Church.

In God’s design for the Body of Christ, we are all in places of responsibility. You may not be a mouth in the body. You may not be in any “up-front” type position, but you are set in the body with a purpose.

Perhaps you’re not involved in a formal church at all. That’s fine too, but you still are called to be part of a community, and you have a role to play there.

One of the problems organized churches face is believers tend to become attenders. A sort of audience whose only role in church life is to fill the pew. There is no way this is God’s intention for His vineyard. The whole 80%-20% thing is anathema, a horrible deformity in the body. The idea that we expect four fifths of those who name the name of Christ to show up on Sunday (or Saturday night if it’s more convenient) and make their weekly (or monthly) appearance is insane.

I’m not saying they need to be busy doing church work. What I’m getting at is that each of us has a calling to be at work in the Lords fields—the world—scattering seed, turning soil, watering, maybe even spreading dung.

The kingdom of God has no place for attenders. It’s just not that kind of kingdom.

Let’s talk about the thousand shekels next week.

For now, let’s consider what part the Lord has equipped you for, in His vineyard. Who has He placed before you? Who are you encouraging to grow? Who are you drawing into the vineyard? Who are you training up in your role?

Lord, help me see clearly today, the work you have set before me. That mission You had in Your mind's eye when You spoke my name and placed me in my mother’s womb. I want to walk in all You have for me.

Thanks for coming by today.

Have a great Saturday.

Ben

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