While reading 1 Samuel 16: 1-13, I began to ponder ministry and goals. There are times that my attempts to adhere to God’s instruction while working to accomplish the work that He has given me to do feels a lot like what Samuel’s experiences may have been in this chapter.
Long story short; Samuel receives an assignment from God, goes to Bethlehem as instructed, gets excited about the first son that he lays eyes on (though God did not name him as He said he would) and then proceeds to go through each remaining son, one by one, taking who knows how long, until at last he asks the question, “Is there anyone else?” Ah…there is. And finally, “mission accomplished”.
It is interesting to me that God chose not to dramatically shorten Samuel’s process to accomplish the goal. God could have said,”Go to Bethlehem. You will find David in a specific location. Anoint him.” Why did He not do that?
Instead, Samuel goes to Bethlehem, invites Jesse and his sons to a religious service, gets hyped by the first son he sees, learns that he’s wrong in his choice while getting a lesson in allowing human characteristics to cloud Kingdom-vision, proceeds to evaluate all remaining sons, and then has to ask if there are any others remaining before he finally arrives at the correct son, David.
I don’t know the answer to the question, “why?”. I am positive that there is an answer. Maybe Jesse needed to see all his sons reviewed prior to David being selected. Maybe Samuel needed his own heart checked since he was recently seen mourning God’s rejection of Saul. Maybe the leaders at the service needed to learn something by their presence at this event. Maybe all of these things and more are the reason. Again, I don’t know. What I do know is this: Samuel did not stop until the work was completed. He knew what he was there to do. He did not know how long it would take. He did not know how the work would take shape. He DID know what the end result was supposed to be. So he went son, after son, after son, after son, after son, after son, etc. He endured the awkwardness of “No, it’s not you. No it’s not you. No it’s not you. No it’s not you.”, etc. He received instruction. He asked questions. He gave instruction. Whatever it took to accomplish the goal, he did it. Once it was done, he was onto the next thing.
So what mission are you on for God? Are you enduring the process while keeping your eye on the goal? Are you strategizing as you encounter circumstances that appear to thwart the goal? Will you remain committed though you may not always see the answer right away? Will you endure though the experience in the moment may not appear to be achieving anything tangible?
While doing His work we are being instructed, tested, developed. We are having an impact on others (seen or not, understood or not).
1) KNOW the goal.
2) Be INTENTIONAL.
3) Be FAITHFUL.
4) Do not allow EMOTION to dictate when the DIRECTIVE is clear.
God knows what He is doing.