I am often distressed by the attitudes I see in Christians. Attitudes that say if you aren’t involved in a certain ministry or at a certain level, you aren’t truly committed to Christ. Attitudes that consider some jobs better in God’s eyes than others. I realize this isn’t true of everyone, but I have seen this often enough in well-meaning people to be concerned.
I recently read I Samuel 30 where David and his men return from war to David’s town of Ziklag. They come home weary from battle only to discover the Amalekites have raided the town, stolen their herds, and taken captive their wives and children. David goes to the Lord and finds out he should go after them and will have victory with no loss of life or goods for his people. So, he and his six hundred men pursue their enemies.
The problem is the men are exhausted. When they arrive at the Brook Besor, two hundred of the men are too tired to even cross the stream. David leaves them behind with the supplies and continues on with the four hundred remaining men. They are victorious, retrieving their wives and children, plus all the herds that were taken. David recovered everything that was taken.
When they return to the brook where they left the two hundred, some of the men who went with David did not want to share the spoil with those who stayed behind.
“Then all the wicked and worthless men of those who went with David answered and said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man’s wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart.” 1 Samuel 30:22 (NKJV)
David’s response to this selfish claim was very clear. “But David said, “My brethren, you shall not do so with what the LORD has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us. For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.” 1 Samuel 30:23-24 (NKJV)
David clearly understood not only the need to acknowledge everyone equally, but also to be empathetic to those who were too tired to continue. He didn’t judge them by their brother’s stamina, but realized we are all unique.
Isn’t it interesting that those who complained were listed as wicked and worthless men? They fought battles, they carried on when they were tired, they did the Lord’s work of bringing their families home, yet because of their attitude toward those who were exhausted, they were considered wicked and worthless.
Ouch! What a lesson that is. When I want to grumble about not having help, about having to do all the work myself (which is never true), or asking myself what that person is doing to help out, I need to remember that I am to do the job God assigned me. I can let Him worry about everyone else.
Not only that but I must learn to show empathy. Maybe I can learn a little about what that person is facing and understand why they aren’t as active in ministry. Perhaps they are very active in prayer—something that isn’t seen by me, but is crucial to the health of the church. Perhaps they just need down time to rest physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
What I must remember is that I can’t see a person’s heart. Only God can do that. Some jobs are more visible but the ones that are less visible are just as important. And, we all deserve to share in the spoils—to bask in the mercy and grace of God. To serve without condemnation or criticism.
I pray that all of us will have David’s attitude and not be like the wicked and worthless men.
Photo by Elaine Casap.