31 "Which of the two did what his father wanted?"
Matthew 21:31 (NIV)
I think we would agree that the first son did what his father wanted; in the end, he obeyed. The second son didn't. The answer couldn't be neither or both.
Since we all live in a specific context, in some sort of community, on some kind of team, in some kind of family, we all face similar drama. What was Jesus trying to teach us about life and our Father-God relationship through a simple story like this? What are the obedience takeaways? Here's my top 10:
- When it comes to obedience, we all fall into one of four categories: know and obey, resist then obey, agree but disobey, reject and disobey. Options two and three are where we most always seem to struggle. That's why Jesus centered the story here. Here is where he wants people to grow.
- Lip is not as important as life. Conviction and confession without commitment is pointless.
- Obedience always has its reward (v. 31).
- Obedience helps you put failure behind you.
- Belief and trust always activate obedience. Pride and unbelief always destroy it.
- Obedience is easily measured.
- Obedience expresses the heart. It's here where obedience is ultimately tested.
- The evidence of true repentance is obedience.
- Humility makes room for obedience. Pride rarely does.
- God always leaves room for repentance. He smiles at obedience sightings. You have to love a God who operates like this. Athlete, that's the Guy to play for.