(I Samuel 30:1-25)
Our grandson, Thomas, was five years old. It was field day for the grade school and kindergarten kids were to participate with grades 1-6. He was shy and did not like to perform in public. The teacher was compassionate and wise. When he refused to take part in the relays out of shyness, she put him in charge of guarding the shoes for the other students in the class. He was given a special honor when he was too shy to participate? Not fair!
David set out with 600 exhausted men to chase the Amalekites who had looted their camp at Ziklag, taking their wives and children captive. Already battle-weary, they pursued for 15 miles and 200 of the men were too exhausted to continue. The remaining 400 pushed on; destroyed the Amalekites and brought back all the wives and children and much plunder. Some of the four hundred said it was not fair that the 200 quitters would share in the plunder. They had quit, but David did not call them quitters. He called them the ones who stayed by the stuff and decreed that those who fought and those who supported would share equally in the spoils of victory. David knew that the victory was all by the grace of God and not because of human power or ability.
To value only those who perform well means that our friends and companions in the faith live with the ever present thought that when they fail they are cut out of the reward as the other failures have been. The way we treat the weak gives security to both the weak and those who are strong.
Jesus style leadership from a kindergarten teacher and a King! Our value to Jesus is not based on our performance.
Leadership in Christ’s kingdom is best exercised by those who see all in the body as equal recipients of God’s grace. They love and honor the talented and the not so talented; the powerful and gifted and those with no power and few gifts; the ones who perform well and those who are disabled by sin and weakness and perform poorly or not at all.
This flies in the face of all we are taught in North American society. But when individuals are loved for who they are the revolution of Jesus begins and even the weakest of us are given the strength to live revolutionary lives. Jesus’ love is inclusive and Jesus style leadership includes and honors all who are on the journey.
Kent Hotaling January 1999