I would love to share with you a wonderful revelation I had from God the other day. It occurred to me almost immediately after tuning in to a Christian Television show; the preacher mentioned Samuel anointing David, and WHOOSH! I was whisked away on my own private tutorial with God.
We know from Scripture that David was called away from his day job - a shepherd boy - to stand before Samuel, where he was, quite surprisingly, told he would one day be Israel's king,
"So (Samuel) asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
12 So he sent for him and had him brought in... Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” 1 Sam 16:11-12 NIV
I'm pretty sure that young Dave would have been gobsmacked at that moment; in fact, I think his line of thinking may have been something like, "Me? The King of Israel?! But I'm just a shepherd; why would God choose me? (thinking music...) Okay then God, I'll give it a shot. When do I start?"
This is the part that really jumped out at me - David did not see the anointing actualise immediately; in fact, Dr. Barney Phillips suggests that it was as long as 20 years between the anointing and the crowning!*1 Yes, that's right; after the anointing took place, David returned to his job minding the sheep. It's hard to imagine the future king of Israel chasing sheep across paddocks, fighting off lions, and tigers, and bears (oh, my) and cutting smelly dags from their ample derrieres!
I think the years in between the anointing and the actualisation of the prophecy could have been very frustrating for David, had he not kept his attitude in check. He could have questioned God's timing and sulked, neglecting the sheep he was sent back to watch and grumbling that he was so much more than "just a shepherd!" Had he gone down this path he would have missed out on a string of God-appointed events, all of which were provided to prepare him for his future in the most influential job in the kingdom. In other words, Dave's attitude could have cost him his anointing.
Now, this is where things become really exciting; how this relates to us! We all have God-given talents and gifts and dreams that bubble away inside us. Sometimes they are realised almost straight away; an example from my own life is my desire to sing for God. This was never really likely to happen - I'd been told I couldn't sing - and then, with no hint of what was to come, I found I had a voice, and when used for God, it was actually good! And God did use me, almost immediately for a wonderful season, to bless people and bring them closer to Jesus.
Then there are those times when God anoints us for a job in his Kingdom, only to send us back to our day job, to wait, to 'tend the sheep' so to speak. Cleaning the building when we want to preach, counting tithes when we want to lead worship, washing dishes when our heart's deepest desire is to run an outreach programme to the homeless; these are the moments we can be tempted to doubt God's timing, when we begin to see the mundane jobs as unimportant or a waste of time. Oh, but if we would only take a moment to think, really think about our place in the church, we would see that we are exactly like David the shepherd; being made ready for whatever task God has marked for us. And in this time of preparation we are, indeed, following the call of Jesus, himself, who called on Peter to “take care of my sheep.” John 21:16b NIV
So the next time you are tempted to use the term "just a..." remember David, who was so much more than "just a shepherd;" he was a king in training.
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