Friday, October 20
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Saul, son of the rich man, Kish, and of the tribe of Benjamin, set out on a journey to find two donkeys that had wandered away from the family's land. He traveled a long way before coming to the town where the prophet, Samuel lived. Saul's traveling companion knew of the man of God and suggested they stop to see him -- maybe he could help them find the lost donkeys. They worried because they had nothing to offer the man of God for his service. But once they arrived, they found Samuel was waiting for them. Samuel had received a message from the Lord that a Benjaminite would be arriving, and he was to become Israel's first king. Instead of pleading for Samuel's time and attention, Saul was showered with both. He received an extravagant meal and a place to sleep. In the morning, Samuel gave him instructions that began with the finding of the lost donkeys and ended with Samuel anointing Saul king.
This story moves in an interesting way. It begins with Saul letting go of the past -- learning that the donkeys were no longer his concern, but that he would be charged with another more important task. Second, Saul is asked to travel even further from home. At his second destination he would be given the provisions he did not earlier possess -- offerings for God. Finally, he would move even further from the life he knew -- not only to a farther off town, but also into a spiritual state of prophetic frenzy. Such a frenzy was probably unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable for Saul. But God's call often is.
When we are called by God, we are often treated to the same journey. First, there is a letting go of the past. Maybe it's cleaning up unfinished business. Maybe it's letting go of old hurts. Whatever it is, once we let it go, we can more clearly look to the future and our new calling.
Next, we are given the provisions we need. Maybe it's spiritual gifts. Maybe it's people. Maybe it's a willingness to learn and grow into the calling. God rarely (if ever) calls us to tasks that we are incapable of handling. We might not yet be fully equipped to manage it, but that often comes with time. We have within us what we need to follow God's call -- sometimes it just takes a little nurturing to bring those gifts to fullness.
Finally, God's calling is often unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But that's part of what makes it exciting! Every time I've ever been challenged to learn and grow, or to do something outside my comfort zone, I have always come out the other side better for it. My life experiences, both good and bad, have made me who I am, and as I like who I've become, I wouldn't change it.
What is God calling you to do? Is now the time to do it? What can you do to learn the skills you will need to follow God's call? What can you do to prepare? Saying "yes" to God's calling might just be the best thing you ever do.
Narrative Lectionary Text: 1 Samuel 9:27-10:8
As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the boy to go on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.”
Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, “The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around. Now this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler over his heritage: When you depart from me today you will meet two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; they will say to you, ‘The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has stopped worrying about them and is worrying about you, saying: What shall I do about my son?’ Then you shall go on from there further and come to the oak of Tabor; three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three kids, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. They will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from them. After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, at the place where the Philistine garrison is; there, as you come to the town, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the shrine with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre playing in front of them; they will be in a prophetic frenzy. Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person. Now when these signs meet you, do whatever you see fit to do, for God is with you. And you shall go down to Gilgal ahead of me; then I will come down to you to present burnt offerings and offer sacrifices of well-being. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.”