Bible stories often contrast people who are spiritually attuned with those who are as lost as a goose. In the story of Naboth’s Vineyard (I Kings 21), the King of Israel is shown to be a spoiled, middle-aged, child. King Ahab is easily persuaded to commit murder. All Queen Jezebel has to do is appeal to the man’s unbridled pride in being the king (think Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the King”). When we are spiritually immature, our pride makes us vulnerable.
By way of contrast, Naboth is spiritually attuned to the way God has tied the providence of his family, and the dignity of his ancestors (think humus — the rich loam that forms the root word of humanity and humility), with the working of the soil. He will not sell his vineyard for it is the living, organic, means that rural society has to care for the future generation.
Every person needs to learn from the life that they are living. We grow as spiritual persons when we comprehend the fabric of God’s providence. When we cave into our pride, we become competitive, violent, and less-than-human. Spiritual growth also brings an appreciation of truth, beauty, and the life lived patiently. Below is a poem I wrote with these themes in mind.
by Bill Kemp
I have discovered that
Patience and humility are interlaced.
The tapestry of a weaver’s shuttle,
Strand by strand,
Life is a thread of attention
Rhythmically tossed, back and forth,
Until relationships emerge in focus.
So also, is the pursuit of beauty or truth.
Patience and humility are required.
Like a hunter working the thicket,
Silencing the rush to results,
Life is found by observation.
Shooting only with a camera,
Until the nature of reality emerges.
Then too, when we consider time,
A friend of patience, humility, and few others.
It seems to progress, steady like a train in the sunset,
Gone with a whistle, mournful, falling,
Elder-hood, life’s greatest gift,
Squandered on those who complain,
Leaving to others, the task of being thankful.