“And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.” – 1 Samuel 16:21 ESV
I don’t know about you, but one character of the Bible narrative that I have grown to appreciate is King David. Yes, he is a man of undeniable faults who truthfully and wholeheartedly sought repentance. Yes, he once slayed a giant with the smooth rock and skillful aim of a shepherd. There is no denying his ability to lead others, whether in battle or in kingdom. David is truly a respectable king and hero.
But that is not what captivated me.
I think the thing that I appreciate about David is something simpler at it’s core.
When we first meet David, he is out in the field tending to the sheep. He’s a good shepherd. Then he is anointed by Samuel, and what does he do? He returns to the sheep. “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” – 1 Samuel 16:19 ESV
Imagine for a moment that you are a (likely) 15-year-old child who was just anointed by Samuel as the next King of Israel. What do you do? I’d like to think I’d be the type who would dive head-first into knowledge, picking up the latest offering of “Kingdom Ruling For Dummies” or subscribing to the latest podcast on the topic. I might even walk around town and be like “Good morning, peasant.” just for the fun of it. But David? He returns to his sheep. A good shepherd who cares about his flock.
You see, David here displays something that I found endearing to his character. Patience. He was willing to wait for the call that would send him into action. He was patient in God’s calling.
So, when he finally gets his next step, his call to action. What does he do with it?
“And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became is armor-bearer.” – 1 Samuel 16:21 ESV
So, here we have the future King willingly enter into the service of the man he would eventually succeed. It was not like he showed up on the doorstep of the palace and told Saul to get out of his chair. He served him.
David displayed an “it’s not my time” attitude that I would guess the majority of us would struggle with. Yes, maybe we are not all called to be a king or leader of a country. But we all have things we want to do in life. Goals. Ambitions. Desires.
I want to write a book and become a published author. And I want to do it now. Not tomorrow, not next week. Now. And it frustrates me that I am not. I mean, I can write a book, right? I have the skills. I can put words to a page.
The problem? I haven’t figured out my story, yet. I haven’t put the work in.
That’s where David became something a little more real to me, that’s where David’s story jumped off of the page. David, starting at a young-age, decided to put the work in. He’s a good shepherd and he returned to his flock. He gained skills and a strong work-ethic. David went to Saul and became an armor-bearer. He put the work in. He gained favor in the court and learned from Saul. He put the work in. His battle against Goliath? He put the work in.
In fact, David’s story is filled with moments where he decided to be patient. To listen to God’s call, to trust in Him to lead Him.
Looking at God’s purpose for my life, I am impatient. I want the answers. I want to know where he is leading. He promises great things in Jeremiah 29:11 and Ephesians 2:10, so where are they, right?
Maybe, Jeremy, you are in the training grounds like David was. Like God was preparing David, he is preparing you. The question becomes, what will you do in that time? Will you be patient in God’s calling? Or will you barge in and demand the throne?
Are you willing to put the work in?
Are you willing to be an armor-bearer before you take the throne?
That answer is still being written, but if a 15-year-old shepherd boy was willing to do it, maybe I will give it a try too.
After all, it certainly worked out for him.