Baton change

‘One sows and another reaps.’ One’s work is taken over by another to develop it and hopefully come up with a good result. Jesus stated this clearly to his disciples (Jn 4:36-38) – “I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.” They were experiencing what others had worked for; they were witnessing Jesus’ actions in a nation that was prepared by others. The Patriarchs and the prophets had laid the foundations and now the disciples are witnessing the fruit which is being brought to fufilment by Jesus, and will later be asked to reap that fruit through them being sent in the world. In the Gospel according to Luke (Lk 10:24) Jesus states that “many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” It is not easy to know that others are or will be enjoying what you have worked for, but the approach would change once the goal of your labour is clear in your head.

While listening to this biblical text, what came to mind was the occurrence of Claudio Ranieri replacing Nigel Pearson on the Leicester City Football Club bench two and a half years ago. Pearson was building a team, but it was Ranieri who took over and finally reaped what was sown. Similarly, think of youth coaches in any sport who would have given so much in the development of the young athletes and players, yet it is the coaches of when they are older who get all the credit and are seen as the best.

The reaping in a game could easily be seen as the moment a goal is scored or a point is taken. Take volleyball for example, the one who spikes would have made use of the ball set to him which would have been the result of the ball being received from the attacking play. The hard labour of the receiver is reaped by the spiker. In rugby, the players take positions and in a way sacrifice themselves so that other players could be in a better position to get a try for the team. The try is the result of the hard work of all the players, yet it is the player who gets the try who gets the credit. The same in football; it is the striker who usually gets the goals after having been set-up by the passer, and this after the hard work of the goalkeeper and defenders who would have defended the goal. We could apply this to all team sports.

In life the ball passes from one person to another, just as a baton in a relay passes through the hands of the four athletes until the last athlete finishes off the hard work done by the rest. Still, the last athlete has a lot left to do when she gets the baton. It is the same with us; we must learn to appreciate all that we have received, be it from our ancestors or those living among us, and do the best with what we are given. This would enable us to also pass on our good. Then we can altogether rejoice with what we have reaped.

Bernard Micallef is a Social Policy graduate from the University of Malta and is currently reading a Bachelor's Degree in Sacred Theology.

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