Encouragement for Today - July 11, 2005


July 11

Encouragement for Today


“Better Late Than Never”

Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman Magazine, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member, editor@proverbs31.org


Key Verse:


Matthew 21:28-29, “What do you think?  There was a man who had two sons.  He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’  ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.” (NIV)




My husband and I didn’t pick the smartest week of the year to get married.  We were juniors in college and got married two weeks before classes started.  On one hand, we prepared all summer; on the other, we had little time to squeeze in a honeymoon before school and jobs started up again. 


Between moving into our new apartment, working part-time, and full-time school, writing thank-you notes for our wedding gifts fell to the bottom of my to-do list.  Month after month went by, and it was Christmas break before I seriously thought about them again.  By that time, I was just plain embarrassed to send out notes.  My closest family received them, but I neglected the rest.


That breach of etiquette has bothered me for 22 years.  It probably explains why I’m a stickler for my children and me to write thank you notes for every gift.  In hindsight, I should have sent out the notes at Christmas.   Truly “better late than never” should have been my guiding principle.


Jesus spoke about a similar principle in the parable of two sons (Matthew 21:28-32).  Both were asked to work in the vineyard by their father.  One said “no,” but changed his mind and went.  The other said “yes,” but didn’t go.  Jesus asked the poignant question, “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”  The answer was the first. 


Jesus used this parable to show the religious leaders that the “tax collectors and the prostitutes” were entering the kingdom of God ahead of them.  The religious leaders professed to obey God in their heart and actions, but they didn’t.  I think this is a principle we can apply to our everyday life.


Many times we know God is calling us to do something.  It could be to share our faith with a co-worker or family member.  Perhaps God has been tugging on our hearts to increase our financial giving.  Maybe we need to take a leap of faith and change careers, go back to school, or do mission work.  We say “yes” when God first prompts us, but then do nothing.   Time goes by, and we think, “It’s too late now.”


Unfortunately, that type of thinking leads to disobedience.  This parable shows us that it’s never too late to obey God.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what you’ve done since God first asked you to do something.  It doesn’t even matter if you’ve stomped your foot, crossed your arms, and told God “no.”   Today you can make your Father happy by doing His will.  


We serve a gracious God who doesn’t hold our disobedience against us.  We may need to confess it as sin, but when we do, it’s as good as gone. If God has asked you to work in the “vineyard” and you’ve said no, or delayed obedience, make today the day you get to work.  I wonder if I still have that wedding gift-list


My Prayer for Today:


Precious Lord, I praise You for Your compassion and kindness.  You are worthy of all my praise and all I have to offer.  I confess the times I have disobeyed You by saying “yes” and then not following through.  I pray for strength through Your Holy Spirit to walk in obedience.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps:


Identify one thing the Lord has asked you to do, that you haven’t done yet.  Commit to following through and then write down specific action steps to accomplish the task.


Reflection Points:


Read Matthew 21:28-32.  What does this parable tell us about God’s value on obedience?


What might have been in the heart of the second son, who said “yes” but then didn’t obey?


What is Jesus’ point in telling this parable?  


Identify something you know God wants you to do. 


Examine your heart.  Why have you delayed obeying?


Power Verses:


Psalm 119:1-2, “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.”  (NIV)


1 Samuel 15:22, “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’” (NIV)


Matthew 28:19-21, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”  (NAS)

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NAS)


Additional Resources:


Message of the Month Club



P31 Woman Magazine


Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst



Originally published Monday, 11 July 2005.