It is an ordinary day around familiar people and you are doing your usual thing. You are carrying your tools in one hand and a bottle of drink to quench your thirst on the other. Your skin is burning, head drenched in sweat you feel fatigue taking over. It is almost noon so you decide to join your group to rest under the shed.
That’s when you notice this man who seems to be from out of town. He stands tall, modestly clothed but appears noble, very confident and knowledgeable. He approaches your group.
You can tell people are sassing him but the more he speaks, it seems, the more people are drawn to his eloquence and charm; as if they are hanging on to every word that comes out of his mouth. However you can tell that a few are already bothered by his presence and the attention he is getting.
Time passes and it becomes apparent that this guest wants to be a part of the community. The more he speaks and the longer he stays, the more people he attracts. Indeed several people find his manners refreshing.
But as his popularity grows by the hour, those who express their dislike from the beginning become more critical and jealous of this man. They are determined to “put him down” by questioning him continuously aiming to discredit and embarrass him if and whenever they can.
What we don’t realise is that he was sent by his father who owns all the land we are farming, to connect with us, engage us and provide tips so we can get the best harvest at the end of the season. But because of our jealousy, insecurity, fear, malicious minds and self-interest, the few who see his concern as arrogance are sabotaging his reputation, worse stopping him from fulfilling his mission.
This is similar to the story of Jesus – an epic tale of rejection the parallels of which still find its way in some groups, clubs or organisations. In our era, our term for this is “tall poppy syndrome”.
At school, there have been testimonies of bullying just because a student is “a nerd” or is excelling better than their peers.
At work or in a small community, some people are criticised for their talents and achievements.
In a small group I know, when a project, an event or someone had been given special mention, others could not resist formulating negative thoughts, spreading malicious lies, tainting the acknowledgement and worse, becoming hindrances to people creating bigger and better things for the community.
What people do not realise is that their deeds are not too far from those of the Sanhedrin and Judas who were instrumental in the trial and death of Jesus. God created us in His own image. Each one of us has a purpose. If you “stone” someone and attempt to stop him/her from fulfilling his purpose, then you are choosing to be the enemy not only of that person but also of God.
New Year beckons us to reflect on our lives: what we have achieved, what we want to learn/do/accomplish and at times, question our purpose. While we are doing that, we can maybe tell ourselves as well that this world is not for me alone? That this world is created to be shared, that each one of us delivers according to His will, fulfill our destiny and realise our purpose?
As the good book stated, “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”