Speak Softly and Carry a Big Lute

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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When Saul saw how successful David was, he was afraid of him. 1 Samuel 18:15 (Read 1 Samuel 16–27 for full context.)

He was a ruddy faced, straw-in-the-hair shepherd boy, too scrawny to amount to much. So when it came time for father Jesse to line up his boys for the sage Samuel to scrutinize for kingly material—like so many beauty pageant contestants sporting plastic smiles and stiff postures—David was missing among them. The runt of the litter was out in the pastureland dreaming up psalms and lute jigs, blithely unaware of the ruby-slipper-type search underway by the Lord's prophet.

Samuel looked first at the strong, strapping Jesse boys, fit for the St. Louis Rams' front line, and thought surely one of them was right for the job. But God warned Samuel: The outside doesn't count; I'm looking for the right heart. Samuel sensed none of them was the one; so Jesse reluctantly called for David who scrambled out of the hills, wiped his nose, and a moment later was declared the coming King of Israel.

What follows is rather remarkable. The ruling King Saul, a jealous and deceitful tyrant, dreamt up ways to murder David rather than bow to God's sovereign will for emerging leadership. David might have responded to Saul's competitive insanity with his own clever schemes to do the monarch in. But David tempered his own spirit, sidestepped Saul's madness, and grew in wisdom and stature.

I have been fortunate to work with strong personalities and highly capable people. As a young pastor, I lacked David's steady temperament with those who threatened him. Like Saul, I sometimes felt envious of those who outperformed me. What a relief to learn to celebrate the excellence in my colleagues. Their sharp minds and good gifts make me better at what I do. I can choose now to insist on my reign of sole superiority (sic) or be buoyed in my own abilities by the ingenuity and brilliance of those with whom I "compete."

Take a moment now to identify and thank God for those with strong talents and vision that force you to grow and excel.
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