The Olympic torch is lit every four years to begin its journey from Greece. It is handed from one person to another over the thousands of miles until it reaches the site of that year’s games. A single person is tasked with carrying the torch for each interval. This is a great responsibility and privilege for that individual. Yet, the torch procession does not wait if someone gets sick or incapacitated.
If someone refuses to carry the torch, they simply get another to take that leg. The honor and prestige of bearing the flame are such there are thousands willing to take it if one drops out. It will get from Greece to the Olympic cauldron one way or the other. The person who refuses simply misses out on the great opportunity to participate.
Carrying God’s Torch
The same is true of God’s plan and our involvement in it. A life of torch-bearing for Christ is overflowing with blessings and honor for us as individuals. God exalts those who humble themselves for Him. He abundantly showers His servants with every good and perfect gift.
Yet, God’s plan will be always carried out regardless of our willingness. The torch does not belong to us. It will arrive on time. The question is whether we receive the honors that go along with the journey. God will give them to another if we are not willing.
A life of service to God is a life of privilege. God is not limited by us, though. He includes us in His plan out of love and through grace. He is not hindered when we refuse to come along. God’s will is carried out regardless of human weakness and failure. He has a million different alternatives in His arsenal to get the Gospel out. He has many ways to show Jesus’ love to an angry group. The only question is whether we reap the blessings of participation in that plan or do we let them go to another.
David, Saul, and Goliath are a great example of this truth. If things had gone as they should have, David’s name never would be included in this story.
He was simply the only one willing to step up, serve, and be honored when others retreated.
Saul and Goliath
David was a young shepherd boy called by God to take on great odds. Goliath was a very tall, very evil warrior who is defeated after mocking the armies of God. God shows His great power by using this untrained youngster filled with faith in a great way. It never should have come to this. The conflict should have been decided well before David ever arrived on the scene. Goliath should have been long dead. It is the failure of the first King of Israel, Saul, that requires David to come on the scene.
David versus Goliath likely should have been Saul versus Goliath. This was Saul’s battle to fight and his giant to kill. Everything set up perfectly for Saul to win an awesome victory of God. Saul refused to fight for God so David stepped in and took the glory.
A Chosen Warrior
Saul was the anointed King of Israel. He was their great leader and warrior king. The very reason people clamored for a king was so that he would fight their battles for them. Fighting battles was his job. If anyone was supposed to go out and take on Goliath it was Saul. He was the head of God’s army on earth. He had one job.
Saul was also well prepared. Saul’s biggest selling point as King was that he was the tallest man in Israel. He is described as head and shoulders taller than anyone else. Saul was not a giant like Goliath but he was a very big guy. Can we imagine how big Saul was if his shoulders were higher than anyone else in the country? That is one big dude.
Saul also has elaborate and heavy armor and a large sword. He had the perfect equipment for the fight. He was a very tall and strong man with the armor and weapons of a warrior.
Saul had the position and the equipment. God even gave him size and strength for the battle. He was almost perfect for the job. Saul could have been the hero of the story. He would have been talked about for 2000 years. Instead, he chose to sit it out and avoid serving God.
A Man After God’s Own Heart
What was Saul’s problem?
His view of the circumstances was more important to him than his service to God. He counted the cost for following God and thought it too much to pay. Saul simply did not have a heart for God. He did not have faith in God and forgot about the rewards that would come. As a result, he misses out on them completely. Saul gave what was meant for his good away because he was scared.
We face the same challenge every day as disciples of Jesus. God calls us to lead our families. He orders us to preach the Gospel and teach disciples. He urges us to boldly follow Him. These are all clearly within our job description. God equips us to do them through the Holy Spirit. We know there are heavenly treasures awaiting if we are faithful. Yet, there are huge obstacles placed in front of our obedience. What is more important to us? God’s will and the reward or our perception. Fear, shame, embarrassment, money, power, and weakness will tempt us.
We are called to live boldly for Christ. We may want to hide in our tents like Saul.
God has a blessing for us. The question is whether we want another to come along and take it?
Saul even whips up an offer of riches, his daughter and exemption from taxes to any man who would kill Goliath. He pays David to take the glory God prepared for him. His decision also opens the door for another man to step in.
God always has another ready to fight His battle. God’s plan is carried out, Saul just misses out on it.
We will always be beloved of God thanks to Jesus, once and for all for the forgiveness of sin. We still can be like Saul and miss out the abundance. The fullness of life in Jesus cannot be ours if we turn away from God’s calling on us.
Our faith grows when we follow God. Our love grows when we do the hard things in Christ. Our joy grows when we confront suffering in Jesus and He walks us through it.
Our life is just so much more when we watch Jesus destroy the giants in our lives.
Sharing God’s treasure is what we were chosen for. It is our job. God has equipped us through the Holy Spirit like Saul. He has also prepared us through a variety of life experiences each of us has walked through. We are all ready to join in the celebration of God’s victory.
The question is are we willing? Do we want another to take our place and fulfill our calling?
Tom Neary is loving life as an on fire follower of Jesus. Helping others see to the glory of Jesus and to live abundantly in Him is his mission. He is a Christian, husband, father, lawyer and a regular guy called to teach God’s Word simply. To check out more of what Tom is doing visit pastorunlikely.com and calvarycatonsville.com. Tom has also just launched a podcast “Come Let Us Disciple” focused on informal discipleship.