Once upon a time the trees decided to choose a king. First they said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king!’ But the olive tree refused, saying, ‘Should I quit producing the olive oil that blesses both God and people, just to wave back and forth over the trees?’
Judges 9:8-9 NLT
I have always been ambitious. I always wanted to be best, but there were some things that I just wasn’t very good at, never mind best at. I kept wishing that I could be, though. I remember wanting to be in the school football team, to be the best footballer, better than my brother, but I was rubbish. I did eventually get into a team, but it was when I was in a very small school and I said I would be goalie. I really tried hard at that, and I did ok, but I wasn’t great.
It was only when I started running that I discovered that the only person I should aspire to be better than is myself. At that time I was in my 40s and I knew that I had started too late to win any races, but I did know that I could run a race in a better time than I ran it before and that is what I strived for. That ambition to improve was a real driving force and it worked – my time improved in every race.
I had to stop running but I carried that same ambition into the things I do now. I cannot be the best, but I can be better than I was yesterday.
The olive tree in the verses above had the right attitude. It knew that it had specialist abilities and a specific role, and that it is what it concentrated on. I should do the same. God has given me specific gifts which I should concentrate on, which I should strive to perfect so that I can bless both Him and the people around me.