1 Samuel 16:1-13 (Part 2) – Being Excellent When Nobody’s Watching!

Posted: February 9, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 16:1-13 (Part 2 of 2)
God Selects David as King

Doing the stuff nobody sees. The behind the scenes stuff. The stuff nobody gets obvious credit for. The stuff that nobody cares about until it doesn’t get done. All the little details that get taken care of that nobody notices. That kind of thing is what I have been noticing recently as I wrap up almost a decade of being controller for Fujikura America, Inc. (FAI). Have you ever been in one of those positions where your job has morphed into much more than it was when you originally took over the job. That’s the thing that has been blowing my mind as I prepare to leave is all the stuff I actually do for the company. When you are trying to document all your duties in a job that never really had a good job description it can be a bit daunting when you analyze what you do over a course of a week, a month, a quarter, a year. All the little details. And a lot of the things that I do really go unnoticed. The rest of the management team just lives in the comfort of knowing nothing administrative or financial “blows up.” I have quietly done my job over the years and done it well, I think. I am proud of the body of work that I will leave behind next week on my final day at FAI.

One of the things that I have noticed is that I have toiled in relative anonymity because my boss really has no clue what I do. He has never demanded to know the details of my job. He has given me the freedom to do it as I see fit. That’s the thing that I have learned from my career – be excellent even when nobody’s looking or even if nobody cares. When I was an internal auditor for several companies over the first half of my career, I would be sent out on audit assignments away from my boss and it was up to me to do the job right while I was out on the job away from my boss and the office. I had general direction but it was up to me to document my work and particularly my audit findings in such a way that there was no dispute. I always has audit reviews at the end of the audits by my boss so there was that control. But it was then that I learned to basically document the crap out of everything I did so there was no questions or no need to re-do. In these years as the controller at FAI, it’s been even more self-directed. Since my two presidents that I have reported to are completely clueless when it comes to the financial end of the business, they have really just trusted that I will do my job. Never really checking behind me. No real over the shoulder checking into the details. It’s been like only if something breaks has there been something said kind of approach to work.

In that atmosphere, you just have to have a sense or a desire to be excellent on your own. You have to want to be your best no matter if anybody is looking or not. When I look back at these ten years at FAI, I can say I strove for excellence in myself and in my people no matter if it was just us that knew that we did it right. Working at excellence when nobody’s looking is often difficult for people to do. It could have been easy to take shortcuts or do things half-ass. But my driving force was always with this day that is coming upon me in mind. Can somebody come in and look at the body of work we have created over the last decade and understand completely what’s in our balance sheet and income statement and what happened financially in our company over the last decade. I can walk away next week saying yes to that question. The amount of detail, the explanatory notes, the consistency, the framework of how we do things, the systems put in place to make things consistent and easy to understand, it’s all there. Not because somebody made me, but because I want to be excellent at whatever I do. I never wanted someone to have come in and clean up my mess like I had to when I took over this job. Whomever replaces me can just come in and get up to speed quickly and then just improve upon the groundwork I have laid. That should be our legacy in whatever we do.
That’s what I thought of this morning when I read through this passage, 1 Samuel 16:1-13, for the second of two readings and blogs that will result. The reason I thought in this vein was the fact that David was not even brought to Samuel. He was left behind. He was at home toiling away at the family business – doing what needed to be done. He was being faithful even when nobody was looking. He was being excellent when nobody was looking. That got me to thinking about how I have had to be in my job at FAI. With that idea of being faithful and being excellent when nobody’s around or nobody’s looking, let us read this passage one more time before we move on to the next passage:

Chapter 16
1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”

2 But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”

4 So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”

5 “Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.

6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” 9 Next Jesse summoned Shimea,[a] but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”

“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”

13 So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

In this passage, we see David probably did not mind that his dad and his brothers were going to town. He was just being faithful to what his dad had assigned to him. He was not angry that he was left behind. There is no mention of that. He was just doing what needed to be done. There must have been a great amount of trust built up between his dad and David. Jesse must’ve just known that David was going to be excellent in his absence. He would make sure that the chores would be done, the animals would be taken care of, the animals would be protected, and so on. David was given the responsibility to do what needed to be done and his dad left knowing that it would be done.

How often do we as Christ followers do things for show? How often do we blow off responsibilities to our church because it is a mundane task and nobody notices? How often do we give our responsibilities at church the half-ass approach when we would never do that in our regular jobs? How often do we just not show up for something at church without even a word to anyone just because, well, I was tired or I had to take the kids to ball, or it was raining or whatever … and we would never treat our regular jobs in that way. How often do we do things at church because we can be seen doing it?

And in our Christian walk, how often do we act one way privately and another way publicly? How often do we say we can read the Bible later? How often do we take shortcuts around God’s commands? How often do we not pray (because, well, nobody’s checking up on us)? How often do we give our leftovers to God both financially, physically, and spiritually? How often do we just not try hard when it comes to being more like Jesus? How often do we just see showing up at church as enough for our walk with Jesus? What if you just showed up at work and did nothing? How long would you be employed? Why do we treat God in this way?

We need to be excellent in our relationship with God even when nobody’s looking? We need to love God with all our heart and soul all the time even when nobody’s looking? We need to be about excellence in our relationship with Him! We need to strive to love Him more and more. We need to be excellent. We need to want to serve Him even when what we do does not hit Facebook or the church newsletter or e-news. We need to love Him so much that we seek to be excellent for Him in everything we do for Him. There’s an old song that says dance like nobody’s watching. We should love God like nobody’s watching because we just love Him and give Him our best even when nobody’s watching.

Amen and Amen.

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