This parable concerning being wary about those who seek positions of influence and power is very instructive in terms of examining the issue of the motives for which we do things. At first we hear of olive, fig and vine that refuse to take the position of king in the garden as they do not want to sacrifice something that is dear to their independent existence. (We will return to this in a moment.) The thorn, however, is eager to have the role as king as he knows that there is nothing attractive in his normal appearance so being king will give him status and power! Thus, we are warned to be careful of those who seek power as they have no other way of gaining influence in life unless others cede it to them. So often we will discover that those who want to be leaders do not make the best leaders as their motives are far from pure!

There is another issue at stake here that I alluded to earlier and that is the one of the first three plants refusing the role as king because they were unwilling to give up something they held dear to themselves. Any good leader will know that such sacrifices are essential if they are going to be good and successful leaders. I am not saying that a leader will have to let go of everything they hold dear but a good leader will have to be ready to put the benefit of the community or the common good before his or her own preferences. Only then will a community be able to move forward on principles that are going to benefit the majority and support the weak in the midst of the strong.

Thus we can see that perhaps all plants in this parable are at fault in one way or another concerning their motives towards service! Sometimes our fault is expressed in a reluctance to serve and at other times in over-eagerness. Let us be careful to look at the motives of our hearts as we lay down our lives in the service of the Kingdom Of God.

What are the things that motivate me to serve? Do they need to be purified a little or maybe a lot!? How can I seek to purify my motives?

Holy Spirit, open my heart to the purifying power of your love and let me open my mind to the truth as to why I make the choices I do. Help me to always choose to act in a spirit of humble service of God and neighbor