“If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.” (Judges 9:15)
In yesterday’s Gospel passage, Peter asked Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you, what then is there for us?” and in response, Jesus mentioned two kinds of rewards; seats in heaven and hundredfold returns of all that was left for the sake of God’s kingdom. Going further, Jesus gave us the parable of the Landowner to explain to Peter what it means to leave everything behind for the sake of God’s kingdom. This parable highlights God’s impartiality and the basic equality of all men.
As Saint Paul would say: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labour.” (1st Corinthians 3:6-9).
Like the workers who were recruited for work in the vineyard at different times of the day, we are not all gifted the same way, we were not all born the same day, and we did not come to know God the same day. However, in the end, we all shall be rewarded not according to how much work we have done but according to what is rightfully our due. In other words, no one has any reason to boast or look down on others.
Jesus says: “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” The essence of the Christian life is COLLABORATION, not COMPETITION. Each is called to give his or her maximum capacity to achieve the good of all. In today’s first reading, Jotham narrated a very beautiful story.
Once upon a time, the trees came for a meeting to elect a king from among them. The olive turned down the offer, as it felt its oil was too precious. It refused to give away his talent, same with the fig tree, who felt his fruits were too delicious, the vine tree as well, because of its wonderful wine. Eventually, they had to settle for the bramble tree who seemingly had nothing of value.
Whatever your talents are, do not keep them to yourself. It is by serving others that we become better.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, use me till there is nothing left. Amen.
Bible Study: Judges 9:6-15, Psalm 21 and Matthew 20:1-16).