Getting there…eventually

“What do you think? A man had two sons. Now he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ ‘No, I don’t want to,’ he replied. But later he changed his mind and went. The father said the same thing to the other son, who replied, ‘Yes, sir.’ But he didn’t go. Which one of these two did his father’s will?” – Matthew 21

I have an older and wiser friend who gives good advice. I routinely ignore it. At first, anyway.

I’ll come to her with a dilemma of some sort, ask what to do, and listen to what she says. Then, I’ll try to fix things my way. Sometimes my way works, but sometimes it doesn’t. And that’s when I remember what she said, and I try it her way. It usually works.

When I tell her what happened, she half smiles and half shakes her head. I can tell she’s probably saying to herself, “One day you will listen to me the first time.” And, maybe one day I will.

I take some consolation in the story of the two sons and their problem. When told to work in the fields, one snaps to attention and says, “Yes, sir.” The other? They decide to do things their own way. Eventually, though, they come around and end up in the fields, even as the first son fails to make it there.

The life of faith is not always one of immediate obedience. Sometimes it’s one of wrestling with a Parent who loves us and wants what’s best for us. And, sometimes, we have to go through our adolescent rebellions to get there. The good news is that at the end of the day what matters most is not our first reaction, but where we end up.


Parent God, I’m sorry it takes me a while to get there sometimes. But you know that I’ll make it home…eventually. Amen. 

dd-emilyheath.jpgAbout the Author
Emily C. Heath is the Senior Pastor of the Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire, and the author of Glorify: Reclaiming the Heart of Progressive Christianity.