1 Samuel 10:17-27 (Part 2) – Will I Step Out in Faith or Hide Among the Baggage?

Posted: January 2, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 10:17-27 (Part 2 of 3)
Saul Is Acclaimed King

Sitting here this morning as I get back into the routine of my normal everyday life, after two weeks of vacation, I realize another year has begun. I am pondering this morning about the possibilities that a new year brings. A reset button mentally and emotionally is afforded by the passing of one year into the next. It got me to thinking about the what ifs of 2018 and God’s calling on my life.

At some point in the future, I will be offered a job in full-time ministry. It is a given in my mind. It will happen. And it will most likely move us away from this place that we have come to know and love in Lyman, SC and a church that we know and love in LifeSong Church. For all these past 6, almost 7, years since I have felt the call to full-time ministry, there will come a day when I have to make a decision.

Currently, yes, I have been playing the part of a full-time ministry wannabe. I have been educating myself for the task. I have gotten a second master’s degree, this time a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (May 2014) to go along with my master’s degree in business management. I am currently a doctoral candidate for my D. Min. degree (starting my second year in the D.Min program this week). I play a significant role in the financial and administrative functioning of our church. I am considered part of the leadership team there at LifeSong Church. It is all, I think, part of God’s preparation of me for my future task. My wife is oh so active in our church’s work in the community as the director of community outreach. Although neither one of us is compensated by the church, we are significant contributors to various operations of our church. But yet, it is my secular job at Fujikura America, Inc. (FAI) that is the fuel that drives the engine of our lives. Were it not for the compensation that I receive from FAI over these past 10 years, none of the things that we do for our church and none of the things that we have accomplished financially over the past decade would have been possible. I have a great job there. Although my title is only comptroller, I am in essence the chief financial officer of my company. I am compensated well both in regular compensation but in bonuses each year as well. My benefits package is amazing for this day and age in corporate America. My wife and I have been blessed beyond measure by God’s providence in guiding me to this position a decade ago. There were great sacrifices made when I first started working there just to demonstrate to the company that I was dedicated and willing – moving across country twice among them. I have been and am considered excellent at what I do and have been rewarded financially as a result. In the meantime, God has been calling me to the ministry. And there will be a day when I have to walk away from this season of wonderful financial blessing.

The question that keeps me up at night is what will I do? By all accounts, I should just ride this gravy train for another 10 years and then ride off into the sunset of retirement. During these additional 10 years, I will have amassed even greater assets in my 401k. I will have in the next 10 years made a significant dent in my mortgage in preparation for retirement. I will have most likely been able to pay off my daughter’s undergraduate student loans. By all accounts within the next decade, I will have accomplished all the financial goals that my wife and I have wanted to have accomplished by the time we retire. But all during this time, God has been calling me to ministry. All during this time, I have said that I will answer the call. All during this time, we have been preparing financially by living a modest life, even though we have the earning capacity for much greater. All during this time, we have been able to pay off may debts. All during this time, I have been doing all the things that God has called me to do as prep work. We are ready for when the call to full-time ministry comes.

But what will I do when it comes? Will I step into it or will I hide among the baggage? It is this idea of stepping into what God has called you to do that I thought of when I read through this passage today for a second time, 1 Samuel 10:17-27. Let’s read it together now:

17 Later Samuel called all the people of Israel to meet before the Lord at Mizpah. 18 And he said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, has declared: I brought you from Egypt and rescued you from the Egyptians and from all of the nations that were oppressing you. 19 But though I have rescued you from your misery and distress, you have rejected your God today and have said, ‘No, we want a king instead!’ Now, therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by tribes and clans.”

20 So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel before the Lord, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 21 Then he brought each family of the tribe of Benjamin before the Lord, and the family of the Matrites was chosen. And finally Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared! 22 So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?”

And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” 23 So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else.

24 Then Samuel said to all the people, “This is the man the Lord has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is like him!”

And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

25 Then Samuel told the people what the rights and duties of a king were. He wrote them down on a scroll and placed it before the Lord. Then Samuel sent the people home again.

26 When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But there were some scoundrels who complained, “How can this man save us?” And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them.

[Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the people of Gad and Reuben who lived east of the Jordan River. He gouged out the right eye of each of the Israelites living there, and he didn’t allow anyone to come and rescue them. In fact, of all the Israelites east of the Jordan, there wasn’t a single one whose right eye Nahash had not gouged out. But there were 7,000 men who had escaped from the Ammonites, and they had settled in Jabesh-gilead.][a]

In this passage, we see that when the Israelites assembled to choose a king, Saul already knew he was the one (1 Samuel 10:1). Instead of coming forward, he hid among the baggage. Often, we hide from important responsibilities because we are afraid of failure, afraid of what others might think, or perhaps unsure about how to proceed. We are reminded from this passage that we must prepare now to step up to our future responsibilities. We must count on God’s provision rather than our feelings of adequacy for the task or our own abilities.

It is that question that plagues me, will I have the faith that I have talked about having when the time comes to, as they say, “put up or shut up!” For all my whining over the past few years about God’s timing being too slow, will I have the trust in God to step into the opportunity when it comes. Will I step out or hide in the baggage?

Many of us have the same faith challenges when it comes to stepping out in faith into what God has called you to do? Will you and will I have the faith to trust in the Lord to provide and make a way. In Matthew 8:19-22, we see a person who considered himself a disciple tell Jesus that He was willing to follow Him wherever He may go, but first he wanted to go home and bury his father. Later in Matthew 19:16-20, we see Jesus tell a rich young man to go sell everything he had and follow him. Will I use the excuses of family matters (my first grandchild is 17 months old and just beginning to realize who Poppy is)? Will I use the excuse of financial security? Or will I follow the call of the Lord? Will I step out in faith in what God will make abundantly clear as my call to mission or will I hide behind and among the baggage? Will I use excuses that sound perfectly reasonable to the world and to my family as to why I turned down whatever comes? Or will I go against all the sensibilities of this world and follow Jesus’ call on my life simply on the faith that He will provide for me? Will I have the faith that God will make a way for me? Will I have the faith that God will actually strengthen my family relationships through choosing to follow Him? Will I have faith to simply obey and follow God? Will I have faith?

Or will I hide among the reasonable excuses when the time comes? Will I hide among the baggage? I pray that I have enough faith and enough trust in the Lord to step into His calling when the time comes.

Amen and Amen.

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