Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted,
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
The ancient world is filled with kings who claimed not only absolute power but even divinity. And yet this psalm (written to be sung in the court of King David) is a reminder that not only is the king of Israel unlike all those other kings, his kingdom is ultimately not even his! The vine he tends is not a vine he planted. In other words, his task is not to govern according to his own will, but rather to ensure that he acts in accord with the will of the true King, the one who planted the vine in the first place.
At our Baptism, each of us was invited to participate in the kingship of Christ, meaning that like Jesus (and like King David) we are made stewards of God’s people, albeit in a different way. Maybe this means we are entrusted with the care of our family, our friends, our class, or our business. Maybe we are called to roles of civic leadership or to serve in our local faith community. Whatever “vine” we are charged with tending, we have to remember that our royal charge is not to impose our own will on others—it is rather to uncover and get out of the way of the will of God. We’re vine-tenders, not vine-planters.
During this Advent season, as we prepare for the coming of the King, let’s commit to doing a few things. First, let’s be grateful for all those God has put into our lives, like our students, our friends, and our family. Second, let’s remind ourselves that it is indeed God, the Vine-Planter, who has appointed us to be vine-tenders. Caring for those entrusted to us is therefore a holy task. And finally, let’s join in the prayer of the king and ask God to strengthen us as we do this: “Take care of this vine, Lord, and protect what your right hand has planted.”
–Mr. Tom Eichwald, Director of Mission and Ministry