Reading: Judges 9:7-15
King of the Trees
I’m writing this in an election season, so the satire here seems especially thick.
The trees need a king. Of course they do. So the trees appear to form some sort of nominating council. They first approach the olive tree, but olive is quick to point out that it has better things to do than be in charge of other trees. Should it stop making its rich oil just to be in charge? Heck no. Similarly, the fig tree isn’t interested in power—everybody loves figs, why would it stop making figs? Next up the trees approach the vine. Not technically a tree, but these are hard times. “What?” exclaims the vine. “Stop producing wine? Madness.” Out of options, the trees elect the bramble. As it happens, the crappy, thorny ground cover is available.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld was recently on The Late Show, reciprocating Stephen Colbert’s appearance on Jerry’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. A presidential candidate was on after Jerry, and as Jerry had just filmed an episode of Comedians… with President Obama, he and Stephen naturally ended up talking politics. Jerry had an interesting take on the election cycle. I’m paraphrasing, but roughly he said, “These people are all crazy. Right? I mean, you’d have to be crazy to want to be president, wouldn’t you? Who wakes up in the morning and says, ‘You know who should make all the decisions? I should make them. I should make all the decisions. I should be president.’”
In one of the more unusual election cycles in memory, there’s a lot of headshaking on both sides of the aisle in disbelief at the available options for nomination. Many are speculating that we’ve reached a tipping point in American politics where anyone who would be any good at being president has the good sense to not want to be president. Have we worked our way down to brambles?
When have you seen power in leadership become toxic?
How do you protect yourself from being sucked into the desire for power and control?
How does Jesus’ teaching overthrow traditional models of power?
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