There's something about the way people look at you with a big smile and tell you what you're capable of. Whether this is a level of degree in school, a personal goal you've set for yourself, or something you didn't start considering until people planted the thought in your head. This is hype. Just like those of us who believe the Tennessee Volunteers will be National Champions once again. Hard to believe for some, others believe whole-heartedly; regardless of the thought, it doesn't matter until it's game time.
This is how I feel about the story of David, even though I don't want to talk about him at all. Think about this family: you have the brightest, most handsome, and qualified men to be king. Jesse, the father of these young men, knows the cream of the crop he has in his bloodline. So when Samuel comes to your door and asks if he can come to find the King's replacement, you better believe Samuel's going to listen to the hype he's heard.
1 Samuel 16:6 (HCSB) says:
“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and said, “Certainly the Lord’s anointed one is here before Him.”
Yet the Lord said no.
Samuel couldn't understand. Look at his stature - he looks like the next king! This process repeated until they found the young boy tending the sheep and God told Samuel to anoint him as King.
This summer I was Eliab. There is a mission trip I have attended for several summers, and leading up to July I continued to say, "Oh of course, aren't I anointed?" I had experience, passion, and a schedule that would allow me to go. People at church didn't question that I would attend. It was an expected venture. Those leading the trip had already discussed plans with me since I had responsibilities to tend to. A girl I mentor was going to be going for the first year, and I couldn't wait to share these memories with her.
Yet the Lord said no.
I can remember the moment I heard the Lord speak. It wasn't something audible, but more like a whisper to my heart. "No." I tried convincing Him that He didn't know what He was talking about. (I don't recommend this to anyone, who I to tell the Creator of the Universe am He doesn't understand?) "Those are MY girls!" I screamed. "I love them so much, why are you taking them away from me?" The sobs continued. I thought about the girls I met on this trip all the time, and the thought of not seeing them ripped me to pieces.
Even as I write this I can't help but chuckle a bit when I think about the response I got from that. I am a full believer that God in His own holy way can be sassy right back to my ridiculous statements. "Oh your girls? They're your girls Abbey?" How can you not stop everything when you hear a statement like that. "What if I told you what's best for them this year isn't you?" Excuse me God, but remember what that person told me? They said I should go back. That girl told me that she was afraid to go without me. Are you sure? Then I was flooded with spiritual songs I had recently sung in choir:
"God You are God when I feel like I'm falling, God You are God beyond my understanding."
"I will wait, and be still, knowing you're in control."
"When my heart and strength have failed me, My God You won't, You'll never leave me. I will trust in You alone."
I watched my David, the girl who was terrified to go without me by her side, be completely changed by God's presence on that trip. She was in situations and was able to lead in ways that I would have interfered with had I gone. When God's will and your personal hype don't agree, it can be one of the most devastating feelings, but I know God works together for the good of those who love Him. Praise the Lord for saying no.
The Unwise by Abbey Bolton
When Rebecca asked us to write on the topic of wisdom, I freaked out. What can a sophomore in college know about wise decisions? I did however make the grand realization that in my short time here on Earth of what wisdom is not. The bible is full of references of wisdom, but my favorite are the straight forward verses throughout Proverbs that leave no question of what our actions should be.
The unwise do not know how to use their tongue. There are countless verses on turning the other cheek and holding back your tongue, but the thought that gets me most is the 9th verse of Philippians 4.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Honorable is the word of heroes, only those who are worthy. What kind of a person would I be if ONLY what came out my mouth was honorable? Yet that's only one of the many strong words listed in this verse.
The unwise don't wear watches. Our time here on earth is a vapor as John tells us, and those who are wise live in such a way where that is apparent. Using the gifts our Father has given, wise people use their short time here on Earth to change the eternity of others. We have heard the Great Commission, the call wasn't for those with certain talents, years under their belt in faith, those with certain schedules or people with healthy bank accounts. Every person who confesses and believes that Jesus has changed their life forever through Salvation has the occupation of bringing glory to the Kingdom of God.
The unwise start their day and thoughts with "me" first. I can't tell you the number of days that alarm goes off way too early, I'm way too tired, and those 8 am classes aren't going to change for me. Those mornings I want someone to say, "Bless your heart - that's okay sweetie," but that's not close to how my day should begin. How do we expect to speak honorably or bring glory to God if we won't give Him or His Word any time during the day? I prepare myself for classes by looking in my textbook for lessons, example problems, and ask my professors if I'm having trouble or questions. Why do we approach our true call to this life any differently?
The unwise are full of pride. The p-word that never applies to any of us. I know, if I was reading this I wouldn't think anything of it. Take a second to look at what pride really means, “a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people” and "a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc". I've noticed that the wisest people I know never take credit for anything they do. It was either a group effort or an opportunity that God allowed them to be a part of. Their outlook isn't negative, but if I looked at every aspect of my life in that God has given me the ability to do so, I would be so much happier and more thankful to Him. There's a book I love called, One Thousand Gifts, and she writes every day of the small blessings she notices in her daily life. The wise use these spiritual eyes to keep themselves humble, joyful, and in communion with God.
The unwise do everything on their own. If I was to write a letter to my younger self, this is what it would be about. Since age 4, I have been very independent and suborn at times. I was that kid you wanted to be with for group projects, because you knew I'd end up doing most of it anyway. Yet in the life of the Christian, that's not a healthy way to live.
Ecclesiastes discusses all the seasons of life and I can't imagine going through a time to laugh without someone sharing in my joy, having a shoulder to cry on or someone to pull me up when I was too weak to stand. Where two or more are gathered in His name, God is there. Imagine how strong the Body would be if we starting doing more life together and were transparent through every season?
I'm a college sophomore ready for genuine revival in the church to pursue a life worthy of the call. It starts with choosing wisdom, and growing with those around you who made that same decision.