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The Parable Of
THE TWO SONS
“Congratulations!” said the radio Disc Jockey. “You’re the lucky caller. You get two free tickets to the Bobby Boys concert.”
Joseph and Benjamin jumped up and down and shouted for joy.
“And that’s not all”, said the D.J. You get back-stage passes, too!”
“YAHOO!” said Joseph.
When they got off the phone, Benjamin said, ”I hope Dad lets us go.”
“How can he say no?” said Joseph.
“No”, said their father, when he got home from work. “Not until after we get the yard work done. I’ll cut the excess branches off the trees tonight. Joseph, you gather the branches, trim the shrubs, and rake the leaves. Benjamin, you paint the sealant on the trees where the limbs are cut off. If you get it all done before the concert, you can go.”
“But Dad”, Joseph said, the concert’s tomorrow night, and we have football practice tomorrow afternoon.”
“Then you’ll have to choose between football practice and the concert”, his father said, sternly. “Our Open House starts the day after tomorrow, and the yard has to be in shape. Now go and do your homework.”
The boys went back to their rooms grumbling. “I can’t believe he expects us to miss football practice just to clean up the yard”, said Joseph.
“I can’t believe he expects us to miss the concert just to clean up the yard”, said Benjamin.
“Yeah”, said Joseph, “it just gets messed up by the next weekend, anyway.”
“We just spent the last three weeks cleaning up the house”, said Benjamin. “I thought we were done! I forgot about the yard.”
“Why do we have to sell the house, anyway”, grumbled Joseph. “We’re only moving across town. We could rent it out or something.”
“Whatever”, said Benjamin. “I’m not going to miss that concert.”
“Me neither”, said Joseph. They grudgingly sat down and started their homework.
The next morning, Joseph woke up early and started the yard work. Since he was the oldest by two years, he had the majority of work to do. He was only halfway done by the time football practice started.
Benjamin hadn’t even gotten started yet, because their father hadn’t finished cutting the branches.
“Dad”, said Joseph, “we’re leaving for football practice.”
“Suit yourselves”, said their father. “You’d better get home early enough to finish, or you’re not going to the concert”, he warned.
As Joseph started up the car, Benjamin said, “What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know about you, but I’m going to the concert.”
“Dad will have a fit”, Benjamin said.
“What’s the worse thing he can do? Ground us? I don’t care”, said Joseph.
By the time they got back home, they had to rush to get cleaned up for the concert. When they were ready to leave, they had to pass by their father in the living room on their way out.
“So”, said their father, “you’ve both decided to go out tonight?”
“Yes”, they said.
“Are your chores done?” he asked.
“Not quite”, said Joseph
“I’m really disappointed in you”, said their father. “You’ve just created a lot more work for me. You’re both grounded for one month.”
“A month”, said Joseph. “But Dad…”
“You know the rules, his father interrupted.
“I’ll finish my work tonight, after the concert”, said Benjamin.
“You’ll be too tired”, said his father. “That means I have to get up sunrise and do your chores.”
“I’m out of here”, Joseph said briskly. He stormed out the door.
“I’ll do it tonight, Dad”, Benjamin assured him. He followed his brother out to the car.
“Whew”, said Benjamin. “I’m glad that’s over.
“A month?” said Joseph. “I can’t believe he’s grounding us for a whole month!”
The concert was over at 11:30 pm, and it took them an hour to get home.
“I’m tired”, groaned Benjamin. “I’m going to get some sleep.”
“I thought you were going to do your chore tonight”, said Joseph.
“I’ll get up early and do it”, he said.
“Well, I’m wide awake”, said Joseph. “The concert was great, but I feel bad for Dad. I’m going to go finish the yard right now.”
“It’s the middle of the night”, Benjamin said. “He’s going to ground us anyway; you saw haw mad he was.”
“Yeah, but it’s my job”, said Joseph. “I’d rather do it now than get up early.”
“Not me”, said Benjamin with a loud yawn. “I’ll do it in the morning.”
Joseph used a flashlight to finish his work. He found himself humming to the tunes he heard at the concert, with a dance to his step. Before he knew it, he was done. He felt tremendous relief.
“Now I can sleep in peace”, he said to himself. “Who knows? Maybe Dad will cut down my grounding time.”
When Benjamin’s alarm clock went off, the first rays of sunlight were filtering through his window. He groaned. “I’m getting grounded anyway”, he reasoned within himself. He rolled over and went back to sleep.
The next thing he knew, his father was shaking him. “Rise and shine, lazy boy”, he said. “Our Open House is about to begin. In a half hour this house is going to be filled with people. Get dressed and make your bed. And don’t plan on sneaking out. Except for school, you’re staying in this house for a month. I had to get up early and do your chore this morning. I’m really disappointed in you.
When Benjamin finally came downstairs, he saw Joseph with his car keys going out the front door.
“Hey, Dad”, Benjamin objected. “What about him?”
“All I know”, said his father, “is that when I woke up this morning, his part of the yard was all done. That’s all I cared about. And that’s more than I can say for you, young man.”
“Uh, oh”, said Joseph, “he called you ‘Young Man’. I’m glad I’m not going to be stuck here all day! Have fun!” he said with a wave, then he walked out the door.
THE TWO SONS (Matthew 21:28-31)
“A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not’, but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?”