Summary: There will be those who question your motives and there will be naysayers, but David shows us what it means to be called and committed in the name of the Living God.
As I get older, celebrating the arrival of a new year takes on less and less importance. I’m just as content spending a quiet evening at home. Staying up until midnight is no longer a priority, though my children think it’s awesome. While the celebratory nature of the New Year’s arrival may have changed for me, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the hope and anticipation that a new year brings.
Whether you make resolutions or not, the arrival of a new year is a time for reflecting on the events of the past year, affording each of us the opportunity to be thankful and build upon the blessings of 2002, but also to make some adjustments for 2003. No matter where you were or what you were doing when 2003 arrived, we all will undoubtedly face new challenges and exciting opportunities in this New Year, both individually and as a church.
As a church, 2002 was an incredible year. We welcomed 24 new members into our fellowship, half of whom professed their faith in Jesus Christ and requested baptism. For the fifth straight year, our attendance in Sunday School and in worship increased. For the fifth straight year, our financial giving exceeded our financial budget. For the fifth straight year, you will have the opportunity in this week’s business meeting to approve and support our largest budget ever. In 1997, our budget was less than $75,000, and this year it will top $200,000. 2002 was a year of incredible blessing for our church.
2003 promises to be a year of exciting opportunities and continued blessing. We have a construction team and stewardship team in place to help lead us through our building expansion. We will send a team of missionaries to Brazil. We will continue to grow our Sunday School and worship. We will expand our missions and ministries. 2003 holds tremendous promise for Chestnut Grove Baptist Church to do the work of the Living God. We will take one step in living that out later this morning, for as a congregation, you have recognized the call and gifts of Sharon Veith, and we will set her apart to serve you as a deacon, an indication that we are growing and working within the will of God.
A young shepherd boy named David was also growing and working within the will of God. David was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons. David’s older brothers had followed King Saul into battle against the Philistines, but David was not old enough, so he stayed behind to take care of his father’s sheep. One day his father asked David to take his brothers a care package of grain, bread, and cheese, find out how they’re doing, and bring back a report.
Once he arrives on the scene, David learns that the Israelite army is cowering in fear, afraid to go out and face the giant Goliath. David starts asking around, “What’s going on? How come nobody’s fighting this guy?” David’s oldest brother hears that David is nosing around, and he confronts him, “Why have you come down here? I know of the presumption and evil in your heart.”
If I were David, I’d kind of step back and say, “Huh?” As Christians, attempting to do the will of God, this illustrates for us that there will be those, no matter what you do, who question your motives. It may be friend, it may be foe, and it may even be a member of your family.
But before we get too down on David’s brothers, we need to remember that earlier in chapter 16, God directed Samuel to go to the house of Jesse and anoint the next king. When Samuel arrived, Jesse paraded each of his big, strong sons in front of Samuel. The assumption was that the oldest son would become the next king, but as each son was paraded by Samuel, God said, “No, do not look on the outward appearance as mortals do, but look at the heart like I do.”
After the seven oldest sons had come before Samuel, he asked Jesse, “Do you have any other sons?” to which he replied, “Just the youngest who is out in the fields with my sheep.” David is ushered in, and in front of his older brothers and his father, Samuel anoints David as the next King of Israel to succeed Saul, not based on outward appearances, but because of his heart.
David’s brothers are already harboring some jealousy and bitterness, so it’s not surprising that when David shows up once again, in the midst of their territory, in the midst of their battle, asking questions, they lash out at his motives. He is obviously there to show them up once again.
Let this be a lesson for all who are called as Christians, let this be a lesson for all who are called out to serve; someone will always be there to question your motives. It doesn’t matter if you’re involved in missions and ministry on another continent or in your own backyard, someone will question your motives.