“Then all the people of Israel came to the king, and said to him, ‘Why have our kindred the people of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David’s men with him?’ All the people of Judah answered the people of Israel, ‘Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s expense? Or has he given us any gift?’ But the people of Israel answered the people of Judah, ‘We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?’ But the words of the people of Judah were fiercer than the words of the people of Israel.” (2 Samuel 19:42-43)
Who can lay claim to more of the king’s favor?
That’s what the people of Judah and the people of Israel are arguing about.
It sure seems like David is favoring the people of Judah, even though they represent just two tribes. The people of Israel, comprising 10 of the 12 tribes, are put out and demand their majority share.
Seems perfectly sensible.
However, my mind flashed on the word “share” and its place in a pivotal story about another king, the Son of David.
“And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’” (John 13:2-8)
Having our share in Jesus means receiving from him the lesson he wants us to learn, following him in the way he shows us — serving others and laying down our lives.
Having our share does not mean getting more, but giving more.
A Prayer for Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen. (BCP 101)