Thursday means one thing at the Pastor Greenbean blog–a sermon preview. Today’s preview is for the upcoming launch of a new sermon series on David’s relationships. I start the series by looking at David’s relationship with himself and coming to realize his purpose. I think of David as a prodigy because he was very, very young when he discovered his gifts and purpose yet we can learn about ourselves from his process of self-discovery. This portion of the sermon is about 40% in and is about the story of David’s anointing by the prophet Samuel.
It is truth that sometimes, in our journey for purpose and discovery, other people know before we do what we’re here for and what our gift(s) from God is (are). For spiritual reasons, it was Samuel that was able to recognize and assert David’s vocation and calling. The exact same might be true for you and me as well. It could be a friend, a teacher, a deacon, a colleague or even a spouse who is able to see exactly what we’re supposed to be doing.
In the Bible this recognition was solemnized with an anointing of oil that symbolized the presence and blessing of God. We don’t really do that in our world today, but the act of blessing and, I believe, of touching someone else in a symbolic way of affirmation is still vitally important. What we have to do is learn how to both receive the blessings other people give us as well as give them. Too often we curse instead of bless.
Other people often can spot our purpose before we can. This is a painful truth because, if you’re like me, I don’t want to rely on anyone else.
If I’m going to find myself, I want to do it alone and on my own terms.
But that is not how God seems to have wired us. I’ve heard many people say things like, “I’m trying to find myself,” and then the way they do it is to abandon all their relationships and withdraw from everyone they’ve ever known. That is the worst possible way of doing it. It is precisely in the context of interacting with others in a healthy way that we can often find out who we are.
The second painful truth in this story is David’s family. How exactly would you feel if someone important showed up when you were a kid and told your father or mother, “I’d like to bless one of your children, bring them all in” and your parents brought everyone in but you!
Yeah, definitely some Freudian junk going on there in David’s family, huh. In his book on David’s life, our friend Jerry Vreeland points out that David’s relationship with his brothers, as revealed in the text of Scripture, is very disjointed and broken. There is not a lot of love there.
Samuel could spot that David was the one, but his family either didn’t spot it or they didn’t want to believe it. David is almost a masculine version of Cinderella in that regard, huh?
That is the other painful truth in finding out who we are; sometimes our families, or the ones closest to us, either hinder us or actively work against us journeying toward self-discovery.
I don’t know why that is, but it is. So there is a paradox. It might be our community that recognizes our giftedness and purpose, but it will not necessarily be the ones closest to us.