Monday, November 13, 2006


The vineyard owner had 1000 employees. Each was assigned a specific area of vines to maintain and harvest. The owner was very generous with his employees, allowing them to sell a portion of their harvest for their own use. They could select the grapes they chose for themselves and the rest were sold for the vineyard owners coffers.

After a time, the vineyard owner had much wealth, but sought to expand his land holdings. So, he told his employees that he required them to harvest a percentage of the vines for him first, the remainder would be allowed to be harvested as before.

Many employees were very upset and he was furious with them. "Do I not treat you well? Do I not allow you to harvest for yourselves first and me second? What is this little I ask of my OWN vines that you should deny me?"

He used the first harvests to purchase more lands and hire more employees, and his wealth grew more. After some years, production began to slow and some vines were to be destroyed. The owner withheld a percentage of production from all employees in order to replace the losses for those with no vines to manage/harvest. The employees were very upset and the owner was again furious with them. "Why do you deny the assistance I offer to those with less? Why is this upsetting? Do you not want to help your fellow employees?"

And after a time his wealth grew. And the employees were embittered with him and caused his vines to diminish and fail. He demanded more and more from those with good vines to support those with failing vines until all the employees were failing to maintain the vines and the vineyard failed.

The owner took his wealth and left the vines to rot and all the employees were left destitute.

Next time you are told that stewardship is a matter of supporting a community, ask yourself how your tithe is different than tax collections.