King David has always been a character in the Bible that has intrigued me. Maybe it’s because I feel as though I can relate to him in so many ways. Not so much in the extravagant ways of defeating giants, leading armies into battle, driving away evil spirits with his superior musicianship, writing songs that continue to minister to and inspire the Church today, or being described by God as a man after His own heart. But more so in the ways where he seemed really normal and even weak. He was the youngest of his brothers and seemed to be looked down upon and even forgotten at times (1 Sam. 16:11). I am the youngest of my brothers and have experienced the same “younger brother- stay out of the way” feeling. Anyone with older brothers may know what I am talking about… haha. David also had a pretty modest job in his younger days before he was king. He was in charge of watching over his father’s sheep. I have had many modest jobs in my younger days as well as I began walking out my calling in ministry. My first job was washing cars at a car wash. Then I was a runner, otherwise known as an errand boy, at a law firm. After that I was a copy machine salesman (which was the worst/best experience of my life and another blog for another day). After failing miserably at that, I was a water delivery man for several years. I left the water business to be a bank teller for several years before becoming a worship pastor. One last thing that I think I really relate to with David was his honest struggle with worship, trust, faith, and obedience that we see in the Psalms. We see beautifully penned declarations of devotion and praise to God (Psalm 98, 99, 100, 101) that instruct and inspire us all to become better worshippers. But we also see a vulnerability and a weakness in him as he struggled to understand and trust God’s plan and purposes (Psalm 3:1-4, Psalm 13, Psalm 22). I definitely connect with this struggle and war for worship in my own heart. So for me, David is someone that I can relate to and someone that I truly aspire to be like.
As I was reading about the battle between David and Goliath a couple of days ago, the Lord showed me something with David that was so encouraging. You see, it is really easy for us to be impressed and awestruck by David’s amazing courage and faith as he stood up to a giant and charged him with a sling and some stones. It’s really easy for us to put David in a separate “super-hero” category because of the significance of this event and somehow forget that he was just a boy. When we do this, David suddenly becomes unrelateable and his accomplishments become unattainable to us. We only see him as a great king and a great warrior, but the reality is, he wasn’t always. His courage wasn’t just given to him in that moment. He didn’t just use some of his super powers to take down the bad guy. No, his faith and trust in God was sufficient for his battles as a warrior because of many years of trusting God as a shepherd. His faith and trust in God was sufficient for his rule as king because of the many years he spent trusting God in the fields watching over his sheep. It was in those days that God was shaping him and preparing him to defeat Goliath and be king over His people. When questioned by Saul if he was afraid, David boldly states of his experience in the fields. He says, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth.” (1 Samuel 17:34-35) He goes on to say, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17: 37) David was victorious on the battlefield because he was faithful in the fields first.
So many of us are waiting for the next big event in our life wether it’s going to college, getting married, having children, getting our dream job, waiting for that next big opportunity, etc. Much like David… we want to be a victorious king who slays giants and is praised by thousands. We want to skip over the waiting and fast forward to the glory of the battle. However, we forget that in the waiting, God is working. We think that as long as we are “stuck in the fields” that we are wasting time and nothing significant is happening. But what we learn from David is that in the fields… everything that is significant is happening. We often forget that what equipped David for that famous fight with Goliath was endless days in the field, where there was no audience, faithfully watching over what had been entrusted to him… his father’s sheep. What gave David the courage and faith that he needed to face the giant was earned in experience while he was watching over his sheep. He defeated Goliath on the battlefield because he had defeated lions and bears in the field who were attacking his flock (1 Sam. 17:34-37). He was faithful over what had been entrusted to him and he was faithful in the moment. So many of us are watching precious time and opportunities slip through our hands because we have our eyes set on a battle that we are not ready to fight. We are not being good stewards of the little things because we are waiting for the bigger things. We neglect what’s in front of us because we want something more. It doesn’t work that way in the real world or in scripture. Why would we think the Father would entrust more of his blessings to us if we are wasting the ones we’ve been given? Or better yet, if we are resenting the ones we have been given! We see this best in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. Listen to the master’s response to the faithful servant is in verse 21. He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
The point is this… be faithful over what you have now and where you are now because chances are… you are being prepared and equipped in this season. Remember, while David was ruling over sheep, God was preparing him to rule over a nation. The same is true for each one of us. Greatness doesn’t begin on the battlefield. Greatness begins in the fields. Great worship doesn’t happen on the stage, it happens in the closet. Great faith doesn’t happen in the moment, it is developed through experience. Great victories aren’t won on the battlefields, they are won everyday as we learn to trust God more. In the fields of waiting, God is busy working in you and preparing you for that next great battle or that next great moment and He isn’t preparing you to lose (Romans 8:37). We are His workmanship (Eph. 2:10) and His masterpiece that he is creating for His glory and once He starts, He doesn’t stop until we are perfect (Philippians 1:6).
As I look back on the years of working odd jobs just to be able to pay the bills so that I could do ministry, I now see how God was shaping me. I now realize that none of that time was wasted and that all of it had purpose. God was always at work preparing me for my calling as a worship pastor. My character, my work ethic, my passion, my faith, my testimony, my abilities were all being formed and fashioned so that when I stepped on the battlefield… I would be equipped to slay any giant that stood against me. And believe me, in ministry there are many. So be faithful now and trust God for the future. Find your contentment in Him over everything else and learn to embrace the “now” as a gift from Him. He is always working and He is always aware of the great plans that He has for us even when we aren’t. Remember, while David saw himself as a shepherd… God saw him as a king! Be faithful in the fields.