Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Jotham’s Story

During recess something amazing happened on the playground.

Just as the students were getting ready to choose teams for a friendly game of basketball, Timothy grabbed the ball, walked to the middle of the court, and shouted, “I should be captain. Always! It should never be questioned that I am always one of the captains in every sport on every day! I am the biggest kid. And my Dad was the biggest kid at this school when he was here! My family should always be in charge!”

The other boys looked at each other in confusion. No one had ever seen or heard anything like this. Finally they nodded and said, “Fair enough. You are the biggest. You can be boss.”

Jotham had been watching from the swings and heard the whole thing. He climbed to the top of the playground slide and shouted,

“Listen to me, fellow classmates!
Once upon a time the trees decided to pick a king.
First they said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king!’

But the olive tree refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing delicious olive oil
that makes cooking taste so good,
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

“Then they said to the fig tree,
‘You be our king!’

But the fig tree also refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing my sweet fruit
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

“Then they said to the grapevine,
‘You be our king!’

But the grapevine also refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing grapes, sultanas and juice,
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

“Then all the trees finally turned to the thornbush and said,
‘Come, you be our king!’

And the thornbush replied to the trees,
‘If you truly want to make me your king,
come and take shelter in my shade.
If I am king you must do what I want,

or I will set all the trees on fire!’”

When Jotham stopped talking, every kid on the playground stared up at him in silence. They were waiting for something.

Finally Timothy spoke, “And? What’s the end of the story?”

“I don’t know,” Jotham said. “It hasn’t happened yet!”

Another boy shouted, “You’re weird. We don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

Jotham stood tall, on top of the slide. He confidently placed his hands on his hips. “Just think about it. Choose a leader because he is a good leader, not because he demands it!”

“Wait just a minute,” Timothy thought he might be understanding Jotham’s little story. “Are you saying I am a thorn bush?”

One of the boys sniggered.

Jotham smiled, “No, of course not. Thornbushes are prickly and grab at things hurting everyone they touch.”

“Yeah,” one of the other boys said, “He’s just telling a story. Let’s play ball.”

Jotham climbed down from the slide and returned to the swing set.

Timothy turned and handed the ball to one of the other boys. He looked down to hide the tears pooling in his eyes.

“Aren’t you going to play basketball?” the boy who had received the ball asked Timothy.

“No,” Timothy said bravely, “I’m gonna go on the swings.”

Timothy walked to an empty swing and sat down. He looked over at Jotham and asked quietly, “Could you please tell me more about the thornbush?”

“Sure,” Jotham said with a kind smile. And as the sound of basketball filled the air around them, a thornbush died and a giant oak was born.

Jotham’s story of the trees wanting a king
Judges 9:1-15