Many of us aspire to greatness. In awe, we observe the talented “stars” around us and wish we could be like them. We see them on television and read about them in magazines. We even find them in the Bible. People whom God used greatly. People who are out of our league. Folks blessed with superhuman talent and perfectly orchestrated opportunity.
Then there’s me. No way I can even compare to them.
Really? Are these folks truly so endowed with unnatural ability that we could never measure up to their greatness?
Maybe not. If we take a closer look at these folks, we will see that some of them might not be quite as special as we think they are. In fact, in many ways, they are just like us. They struggle with weakness, fears, and failures. So, what makes them so special?
In the next few articles, we will consider a few of these folks and determine if it is possible that God can use us as mightily as He used them.
Let’s start with David. Yes, that David. The mighty king of Israel. The man after God’s own heart. The kid who tossed a rock at a giant and lopped off his head with a sword. The warrior who valiantly led his people into decisive conquest over his enemies.
But who was he really? Was he born with a golden scepter in his hand? Was he obvious royalty from the day he was born?
Nope. Not even close. We first meet him in I Samuel 16, when God tired of the aberrant King Saul and dispatched Samuel to anoint a new king from among the sons of Jesse.
Proudly Jesse lined up his sons for Samuel’s approval. Surely Eliab, the oldest, would make a good king. After all, God had chosen Saul because he was good looking and taller than everyone else. Eliab likewise had some good traits. No, said God, not Eliab. This time around, God had little interest in someone who looked like a good king. He wanted someone who would actually be a good king. So, He gave Samuel some instructions: “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Fine. It wasn’t to be Eliab. So Samuel moved to the next in line. Same story. Down the line Samuel went, eventually running out of prospects.
By the time we get to verse 11, Samuel seems to be somewhat confused. Maybe even a tad irritated. He turned to Jesse and asked, “Do you have any more kids?”
“Sure,” replied Jesse. “There’s one more. But he’s not what you’re looking for. He’s just a kid. I didn’t want to waste your time bringing him in here.”
Someone called for David and immediately God informed Samuel that this was indeed the guy.
No one saw that coming. Sure, David was a nice-looking kid, but he lacked the assuming presence of his brothers. He could be trusted enough as a shepherd, but a king? No way.
What was it about David, then, that attracted the attention of God? We want to know because maybe, if we apply some of his characteristics to our lives, we also can attract God’s attention.
David had passion
David was a man of passion. Not only is that evident from the many palms he wrote, but we can see it in the way he lived his life.
If you want to attract the attention of God, live out a passion. Make it about more than just the goosebumps that appear when the worship leader calls for an a cappella verse of “How Great Thou Art.” Enjoy the song, but go out and live it. If God really is great, He deserves a life of impassioned service.
David was faithful
Long before David had any inkling that he might become king, he faithfully executed the task at hand, which happened to be shepherding. He even handily killed a lion and a bear when they made the unfortunate mistake of attempting to feast on one of his lambs.
Faithfulness takes work. It doesn’t happen by accident. No one looks back on their life with surprise and declares, “Wow, I’ve been faithful! I didn’t see that coming!” If you want to be faithful, start now, and don’t quit for anything.
David had courage
One doesn’t engage in hand-to-hand combat with a lion and a bear out of timidity. It was this courage that enabled David to later become a world-renowned warrior.
“Ok,” you might think. “I’m disqualified. I have no courage.”
Not so fast. Lack of courage is no excuse to bail on God. I suspect that David felt at least a twinge of anxiety when facing the lion and the bear. However, something overruled his fear—a passion for his sheep. Later, when he approached Goliath, it was passion for God’s reputation that propelled him.
You see, none of us is off the hook. Maybe we don’t feel very courageous, but when we become passionate about something, courage shows up.
You want God to use you? Forget about your lack of talent, pedigree, good looks, or whatever. Just decide that God is more important than anything else in your life and serve Him with gusto. That will put you light years ahead of most of your naturally gifted friends.