1 Chronicles 11:10-19 (Part 1) – Finding The Three: Building The Next Leaders

Posted: March 2, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 11:10-19 (Part 1 of 2)

David’s Mightiest Warriors

There is an interesting parallel between David and Jesus that I noticed when reading this passage, 1 Chronicles 11:10-19, this morning. If you have read this passage, you will notice that David had an elite group of 30 fighting men. These were the best of the warriors that were part of his army. They were all highly skilled and chosen for membership in this elite group – kind of like the Army Rangers of their day as far as military skill. They were elite soldiers who were loyal to the cause and were loyal to David to the death. However, within that group of 30, David had the Three. These were his very most loyal soldiers and his closest advisors. They were the leaders among the 30. They were the ones that had the most access to David directly. These were his inner circle of men.

I was reminded that Jesus had chosen 12 men to be a part of his disciples that he would mentor for three years during his time of public ministry on earth. It was these men that would go on to turn the world upside down with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. However, within that group of 12, Jesus, like David, had an inner circle of three men. Peter, James and John were the three of the twelve that were Jesus’ inner circle that he invested in the most. It was among these men, though they were flawed (e.g., Peter denied Jesus three times when the heat was on the night of Jesus’ arrest), that Jesus saw the greatest potential. In each Jesus saw something unique to the cause of the future of what would become Christianity that would be needed the most. In each, these men went on to sacrifice everything for the cause of Christ in ways that were highly noteworthy.

So what does this commonality mean? What can we learn? Well, let’s read the passage and then take a look at what we can learn:

10 These are the leaders of David’s mighty warriors. Together with all Israel, they decided to make David their king, just as the Lord had promised concerning Israel.

11 Here is the record of David’s mightiest warriors: The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three—the mightiest warriors among David’s men.[a] He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle.

12 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai,[b] a descendant of Ahoah. 13 He was with David when the Philistines gathered for battle at Pas-dammim and attacked the Israelites in a field full of barley. The Israelite army fled, 14 but Eleazar and David[c] held their ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord saved them by giving them a great victory.

15 Once when David was at the rock near the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 16 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.

17 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 18 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But David refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 19 “God forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men[d] who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.

In this passage, we see the exploits of David’s mightiest warriors, his inner circle of his military leadership. Each of them was willing to make any sacrifice for David. They were willing to stand and fight with David no matter what the obstacle. It is a testament of loyalty and it is a testament to their observance who David was a man, a soldier, and as a leader. In the years that David was on the run from Saul, he gradually built a force of several hundred men. Some were relatives. Others were outcasts of society. Still, others were guys that were in trouble with law. They all had one trait in common – complete devotion to David. Their achievements made them famous. Among them, there was an elite group called The Thirty and then within that group, there were David’s most elite and most trusted and most loyal group called the Three.

The Three were the guys that had been through all the battles with David. They were the guys that stood by David even in what seemed like the most unwinnable situations. They had seen God’s hand on David and knew he was “a man after God’s own heart,” as Scripture has called David. They new of his skill as a warrior and as a leader. They knew that God had shown him favor. They knew of his devotion to the Lord and as a result followed him. These three were not there because they wanted fame, though they had it. They were not there because it was the cool thing, but I am sure it was. They were not there because they wanted to be on the winning team, though David eventually does win it all and become king. They were there because they believed in David as a man of God, a trusted friend and advisor, a great leader of men. David certainly must have been loyal to them as well. David must have invested in making them better soldiers and leaders themselves.

Ok, now, we have discussed the similarities between David and Jesus and their leadership styles, and then read the passage. Now, let’s get back to the question, what can we learn?

First, I think it is obvious in this Facebook world where we can have thousands of “friends”, it is true that we all only have a handful of closest advisors and true friends. Let us be discerning about our inner circle of friends. May they be godly men and women who will lead us in the right path and teach us in the ways of the Lord. Second, if we are a leader, we must choose that inner circle wisely from those we lead. We must find those who are willing to be led by us and are willing to learn the lessons that we have to teach them. May we choose them because of their faithfulness and teachability. And, third, we must choose them for not being just yes men to us but those who can respectfully bring different view, who can think on their own, and who we can mold into a person who can take what we teach them and become a leader in their own right one day.

Great leaders develop their inner circle first. It is through investing in that inner circle that we can become the most effective. These are the ones that we invest directly in so as to develop them into the leaders of the future after you are gone. As a pastor, I am learning that this must be the case for me as well. I can learn a thing or two about leadership from David and Jesus, especially in the United Methodist Church (UMC) setting where you do not know how long you are going to be at a particular church. In most cases, as a UMC pastor (as with most pastors of other denominations), you are coming into an already established church with an already existing leadership structure and team. Thus, as a pastor and just by the nature of the position we hold, we are called to be leaders of the church. It may not seem that way at times with you being the outsider and the already entrenched cultures at the churches we serve, but it is what we are called to be and to do.

What we can do as we come into these established settings is to not necessarily look at the structure already in place, but seek God’s help in identifying those people that are “investable” people. They may already be leaders and they may be ones that are not leading but God guides you to them for what they have inside them that has not been expressed yet. But, if our biblical example means anything and, of course, I think it does, we must begin, with God’s guidance, to identify our Three. Identify those three people who God wants you to invest in – to disciple, to guide, to challenge, to grow, to allow to flourish to their full potential.

I guess that’s the ultimate thing that has taken these first 8 months on the job to learn is that you cannot move the needle without helpers. You cannot move the needle without people by your side that are sold out to the idea of moving the needle. I can have all the projects, programs, and ideas that I want but God is telling me here lately that I gotta find me Three. Who are those people that I can invest in? Who are the people that have a roll up your sleeves mentality? Who are the eager ones? With God’s help, these are the people I need to identify and begin pouring into. If I do that, everything that God has made me feel that this church is capable of, then, will follow in its due time. Finding the Three is where you start. That’s where David started his army was with the Three. That’s where Jesus invested his most time – in His Three. That’s the challenge that comes forth from this passage for me. Who are my Three?

That’s the challenge to you in whatever you walk of life is. Who are your Three? Who are those three people that you, as a Christ follower, can pour your life into? Who can you invest in? Who can you pass on what has been passed on to you? I was paraphrasing Paul there and that reminded me that Paul had his Three too (Barnabas, Silas, Titus … and as these rotated out and became leaders … he had others as his Three, John Mark, Luke, Timothy). So, the evidence is clear. As Christ followers, we gotta find our Three once we have grown into leadership positions. Thank God there were people who invested in me over the years as part of their Three. I think of how Luke Brower invested in me. I think of how Jeff Hickman invested in me. These two were the heaviest influences in my life to answer the call to ministry that God placed in me. Now, for this time, and this place, I need to find my Three in Lamar at Lamar United Methodist Church, so that the pipeline of leadership among Christ followers will continue.

Who are your Three? Find your Three.

Amen and Amen.

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