Posts Tagged ‘being faithful to God’

1 Samuel 16:14-23 (Part 1 of 2)
David Serves in Saul’s Court

What a difference a year makes? This time last year, we had just found out that I had not gotten the job at the church in Ohio. I saw in my Timehop yesterday where a year ago Elena and I had spent a Friday night discussing what all that meant. Friday nights are our night to hang out at home after busy weekdays and just chill. Last year, at this time, we were just heartbroken that we did not get the job as administrative pastor at that large church in Ohio. We wondered what it all meant? We were depressed because we were “this close” to getting that job. It came down to that last interview after church services on the last Sunday we were there. In that interview, the interview committee apparently felt as though I did not consider the job as it stood to be enough for me and that it was not my “destination job”. They didn’t think that I would be satisfied with the job long-term. That’s why they passed on me and hired someone else. It was a gut punch that it took us a while to recover from. We thought we had it and I think we did all the way up to that Sunday afternoon interview session.

Part of the reason that there was a depression that set in was that I knew with the limited number of interviews I had been having that it could be months and months before I got this close again to a job offer as a full-time vocational pastor. Particularly as it had become clear that I was made by God with a certain skill set such that Executive or Administrative Pastor jobs were what would be my entry point into full-time ministry. Those jobs are usually restricted to large churches of a thousand members or more. So, I just knew that it was going to be a good while before I would get to this point again with a church. Sure, there would be opportunities to apply for executive pastoral positions each month, but I knew it would be awhile before I would get another shot at being this close to a job offer. That was the depressing part – the waiting.

I had already graduated from seminary at the North Greenville University graduate school in May 2014. I thought that as soon as I graduated God would open that door to whatever full-time ministry opportunity He had in store for me. Over the past years since 2011, when I felt the call to full-time ministry, Elena and I had been preparing ourselves for the change. We had been paying off debts, living more simply, such that we could be more generous now and be able to handle the financial change that comes with going into full-time ministry. We were ready, we thought. We had grown so much in our respective walks with Jesus. We had been serving in so many different ways at church not because we were trying to earn something but rather because we just loved the Lord and loved our church. We served because it was thanksgiving to the Lord. We served because it was the least we could for the Lord that changed each of our lives so radically. We served because we wanted to help our church get the message of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ out to our community. We served so that our church could have financial systems that enabled the church to know exactly how the church was performing at any given moment. But here it was a Friday night in Feburary last year, in 2017. Six years later. We were frustrated and we were hurt. Wondering why God had denied us. Wondering why it was taking so long.

That’s when God surprises you with answers to your crying out to Him. For the last year, God has been beating it into my head, heart, and soul to “plow the field in front of you and leave what’s beyond the field to Him.” Our timing is not His timing. Just like in the show, How I Met Your Mother, when Stella (who had broken Ted’s heart months earlier) and Ted had that classic scene from the show that I will never forget because of the lines that Stella uttered. Although the show was crass in a lot of ways, it did have some profound words of wisdom often. This scene was the best of them all. Stella tells Ted to hang on to his hope for his soulmate and that she did believe in soulmates. She told him to hang on because his soulmate was “somewhere out there and she was getting here as fast she can.” She said it was all being worked out and that they would meet at the right time for both of Ted and whomever this woman was going to be.

Ah man. That blew me away. You gotta keep believing in your dreams basically. Hold on to them. God will work them out in His due time. Sometimes we just have to keep plowing the field in front of us. Keep being faithful and leaving the rest up to the Lord. Trusting like a child that the Lord will work it all out. Trusting Him with what that will look like rather than what we mold in our mind that it’s going to look like. Just trust that God will put us where He wants us and how He wants it. That revelation of plowing the field and that right thing getting here as fast as it can sustained me and lifted me out of the funk that I was in this time last year. And this time around, I felt absolutely no pressure and no worry when this job interview process began at Calvary Church in Moline, IL. I really had grown since last year. This year I was not so concerned about saying the right things in the interview because I had come to learn that if this was God’s will for us to have this job, He would make it happen. Regardless, we were going to be faithful to the Lord and plow the field in front of us until God made it clear that He had something new for us – that it was getting here as fast as it could.

That idea of being faithful and trusting the Lord is what I thought of this morning as I read through 1 Samuel 16:14-23 this morning for the first of two readings of it and the blogs that will come from it. That idea of trusting that God will bring us what we need as fast as He can in his due timing. We must trust that He knows best when we are ready for that next thing. In the meantime, keep plowing, keep being faithful. The reason the Holy Spirit made me think of that idea was thinking about how David, knowing that he was to be king, served the current king with great faithfulness and dutifulness. He trusted the Lord with the details that were going to come about to make Him king. Let’s read the passage now with that idea in mind:

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit[a] that filled him with depression and fear.

15 Some of Saul’s servants said to him, “A tormenting spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Let us find a good musician to play the harp whenever the tormenting spirit troubles you. He will play soothing music, and you will soon be well again.”

17 “All right,” Saul said. “Find me someone who plays well, and bring him here.”

18 One of the servants said to Saul, “One of Jesse’s sons from Bethlehem is a talented harp player. Not only that—he is a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the Lord is with him.”

19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, “Send me your son David, the shepherd.” 20 Jesse responded by sending David to Saul, along with a young goat, a donkey loaded with bread, and a wineskin full of wine.

21 So David went to Saul and began serving him. Saul loved David very much, and David became his armor bearer.

22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse asking, “Please let David remain in my service, for I am very pleased with him.”

23 And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away.

In this passage, we see that when Saul asked David to be in his service, he obviously didn’t know that David has been secretly anointed king (see 1 Samuel 16:2). Saul’s invitation presented an excellent opportunity for the young man and future king to gain firsthand knowledge about leading a nation. Sometimes, our plans – even the ones we think God has approved – have be put on hold. Like David, we can use this waiting time profitably. We can choose to learn and grow in our present circumstances, whatever they may be.

Here David just serves. He gives his best all the time no matter the circumstance. He trusts the Lord with the rest. He plows the field in front of Him with excellence. That’s the thing. We gotta trust the Lord that He is bringing what is best for our future in His due timing. He is working out the details even when we can’t see it. He is working out the details as fast as He can. He is working out the details in a way that when we get there, we have been grown by Him to be ready for it. He is the Sovereign God of the Universe. We must trust Him with childlike faith and be faithful to Him even when we cannot see the end game as He does. It is like the guy who gets up at 4:00 in the morning to exercise without fail even when the pounds are slow to come off. You keep plugging away and being faithful to the process and it will come. The weight will come off. Keep plowing.

As we stand here on our last Sunday at the church we love, the church we grew up into young adults, spiritually speaking, we are like Ted from How I Met Your Mother, at the train station that night where he meets the girl with the yellow umbrella – his soulmate, the future wife, the future mother of his children. Ted held on to his dream of that perfect girl, that perfect soulmate. She did indeed get there as fast as she could. He never gave up on his dream of meeting that girl that was perfect for him. He was faithful to that ideal and he was rewarded with being able to later tell his children of how he met their mother.

We ended up having to hand over the dream of going into ministry to God. Trusting Him with getting the right church to match to who we are as a pastoral couple as fast as He could. It was not in our timing but His. In the meantime, we had to learn to keep plowing. Keep being faithful to God no matter what and just trusting that He has a plan and that He was working it out as fast as he could. Today, we spend our last Sunday at LifeSong and there will be tears and there will be hugs and there will be hearts filled with joy and sorrow at the same time. Oh God, how we will miss LifeSong Church.

Next Sunday, we will begin to find out about that church that God was getting to us as fast as He could. We will trust Him with that too now that she is here, Calvary Church of Moline, IL. We will trust that all the stuff that we went through to get here was worth the wait, worth our faithfulness, worth our plowing the field in front of us. Because it was all part of God’s plan for us. We trust that. We’ve learned that. We will live that.

Amen and Amen.

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