I read these two very different scriptures in one day:
The first is Jotham’s Parable in Judges chapter nine.
The second John three.
They go together in an oddly striking way.
The parable starts like this: The trees looked for a ruler.
They went to the olive trees
“Will you rule over us?”
“What? And give up producing the most needed olive to rule over you?
No! It is not worth it.”
Next they went to the fig tree.
“Will you rule over us?”
“What?” The fig tree laughed at the other trees.
“And give up producing this lovely fruit to rule over you?
No way! It’s not worth it!”
Then, getting desperate I suppose,
They go the grapevine.
“Shall I give up making this wonderful wine?
To rule over you?” It laughed.
“No!” And waxed eloquent in its refusal, I would imagine.
Not being wise enough to get the message the trees approached the thorn-bush.
And the thorn-bush, being already somewhat envious of the trees,
And also remaining true to its nature said:
“Me rule over you? Me rule over the mighty trees?
Why, it would be my pleasure!”
The writer was speaking to the ancient people’s choice
Of the things they had chosen over God.
They assumed every new idol or religion they encountered
Was the new answer.
And they followed anyone who consented to rule over them.
Yet Jotham’s words speak to us.
The things from God are so truly good we try to worship them,
Make them our central theology and then turn them to ruling doctrines.
But the good things from God reply to our question,
“What? Me be your king and queen? We’re too busy creating more good!”
And we go to good works who says:
“What? I’m just too busy.
I can’t take time for administration of the law.”
And meditation says :
“It is merely my place to advise.”
And so we run to all the things God has allowed us :
Technology says no, “but I’ll help you organize and share it.”
Service to others paused, really wanting to rule,
Then stayed true to its nature said:
“The right thing for the wrong reason does not last.”
We go on ’till we find passion, greed, obsession, reason or enlightenment,
Who look at each other in delight. “Oh yes! We will rule.
Gladly we will drive you and coax you even make you a ruler.”
And we say, “Finally. Someone to take charge.”
God sighs. And the evil one is delighted.
We start anew. Things go along well.
Driven to achieve, to be and do good, and to see good things happen, we hope for the best.
But in the end we realize it’s not enough.
And somewhere we put our hand to our chest and admit,
Something is wrong in here.
Ah, enter John Chapter Three.
Those universal words of love
Given by the creator whose very nature is
Love and is expressed in constant giving.
And when we respond to … God so loved ….he gave… .
We not only rediscover eternal life,
We find the One God who will not turn into a faulty ruler.
The One who provides the framework
On which to hang the good things he gives us,
The tools he provides, and the work he calls us to.
Amen and Amen.