This past Sunday, Dr. Estep of First Baptist of Columbia, preached a very powerful sermon on political candidates. The parable of from Judges 9:7-15 really resonated with me.
7 When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizimand shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.
8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’
9 “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’
10“Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’
11 “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’
12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’
13 “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’
14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’
15 “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!
Just one problem – the thornbush has no shade. Doesn’t that sound like so many empty promises we hear from our political candidates?
We are being forced, as a nation, to settle for subpar leadership. Those who have been blessed with the God-given ability to lead, much like the olive tree, the fig tree and the vine, will not be bothered – they are infinitely more concerned with what they would have to give up in order to do what is right by their fellow countrymen.
When the vine will not lead in order to keep his wine, when the fig tree will not lead in order to keep his fruit, when the olive tree will not lead in order to keep his oil and when the businessman will not lead in order to maintain his complacent lifestyle, we are condemned to being led by whoever is willing.
We complain about the ineptness of our leaders in this country, but we never acknowledge that the problem only exists because of the inaction of those who could lead – but won’t.
- Wesley Donehue
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