If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Gospel / Matthew 21:33-43

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”


There is a very popular book series, “If You Give a [insert Animal] a [insert a Item of Food]” by Laura Numeroff.  The famous first line is, “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.”  The book goes on to expand the mouse’s needs in his ever-expanding attempt to see how far he can go and how much he can get before the person offering the cookie will say “no”.  It’s a great book and one that we’ve read with our Children countless times over the years.  Jesus’ parable this week talks about how the “mice” of the vineyard lose focus of the initial gift of being able to work and harvest the grapes for their own gain.  It just wasn’t enough and in their zeal for more (their greed), they take their “glass of milk” to the utmost level – eventually killing the Master’s Son.  This is what the Sadducees and Pharisees did in Jesus’ time.  Even though He was raising people from the dead, healing the sick, and bringing a new Hope and a better Promise to a Jewish people who were under the tyranny of Rome, their focus was on themselves – that Jesus might take the people away from them.  And, they would ironically deliver Jesus to the same oppressor that was keeping them under their rule – Rome.  It’s not unlike when the Jews that escaped Egypt with Moses asked to go back to Pharaoh in Egypt to be slaves again within 40 years of their miraculous escape.  They saw the 10 plagues that God brought down on Egypt via Moses and Aaron.  They walked through the Red Sea with its raging waters on either side of them.  They were there when the water poured out of the stone and when the manna fell from the sky.  But, they too, like the Vineyard workers, had lost focus.  We should always stay focused on Jesus – our Spiritual “Cookie” (Gift) from God.  Let’s be sure that as we stay focused on Him, that if we ask anything of Him, we must ask with this focus.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8

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