Summary: How does the underdog become the overachiever?


1st Samuel 17:1-50

INTRODUCTION: There’s no need to fear! Underdog is here! Remember that cartoon? We enjoyed seeing the puny dog take on the villains and accomplish impossible feats of strength and daring do. We like to root for the underdog. We like to see the little guy beat the big guy. We like to see teams beat the odds and walk away with the amazing upset. We cheer when the one who received no respect triumphs. But why do we care so much about the underdog? Probably because we all see a little bit of ourselves in the underdog. When we see someone else rise above the insurmountable odds and come away victorious we are inspired to believe that we can be winners too.

1) How does the underdog become the overachiever? 1st Samuel 17:1-50. Dict. def. for-‘Underdog’: “The expected loser in a contest or struggle.” “One who is in an unfavorable position.” How did David, the underdog, become David the overachiever?

· CHALLENGE. (Vs. 4, 8-11, 16, 32). In order to succeed the underdog first needs to be take on a lopsided challenge. Some people readily shy away from such challenges. Unless the odds are in their favor, they fold and walk away. David took on the challenge when no one else dared to. Is there a big challenge staring you in the face? Have you been avoiding taking it on because the odds are not in your favor? The underdog becomes an overachiever when he is willing to take on an impossible challenge.

· CONVICTION. The underdog needs something to fight for. He needs something to stir his passion. David didn’t appreciate Goliath defying God’s people (vs. 26). He wasn’t worried about the contrast in size or the fact that he hadn’t been in a battle before. He was passionate about standing up for God and his people and that conviction allowed him to stand up to the massive challenge. What about the challenge you’re facing? Why would you take it on? What purpose will it accomplish? What do you stand to gain from it?

· COURAGE&CONFIDENCE. (Vs. 33-37 [set-up to vs. 33]): David didn’t allow Saul’s comment to shake his confidence. Usually underdogs actually feed off of negative comments. Those comments are the fuel that motivates and pushes them harder. David had already taken on challenges facing bears and lions. Through taking on and being victorious in these challenges, David gained the courage and confidence necessary to face the giant. (Vs. 38-47): David stood in front of this massive beast and said, ‘bring it on’. This wasn’t self-confidence but rather a confidence in the God of his people. In order for the underdog to become an overachiever he has to have confidence; he has to believe he can do it. (Vs. 48-50): David’s conviction, courage and confidence paid off. The real giant that day was David. Underdogs become overachievers when they take on tough challenges with conviction, courage and confidence.

2) How is being an underdog a good thing? It would seem that being the underdog in a contest would not be the favorable position to be in. So what will help us to be able to see that being the underdog can be a good thing?

· CHARACTER. Rising to face the challenges of life and believing I can beat the odds provides an opportunity to build my character. It’s persevering through such challenges that reveal where I’m at spiritually. These situations are going to test my faith and trust. And these situations are going to expose my weaknesses and reveal strength I didn’t know was there. Most of the time we find out most about ourselves when we face challenges. When we run away from challenges we deprive ourselves of character building. There’s an African proverb that reads, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” Much of David’s leadership characteristics were built early on when he rose to take on some difficult challenges. Being the underdog provides an opportunity for character building that will result in growth and maturity.

· CHRIST. When we’re faced with situations with odds that appear insurmountable we are put in a position to completely depend on God for wisdom and strength. Being put in this mode of desperation allows us to draw closer to God and in turn it provides an opportunity to learn more about him. But when we shy away from the risky challenges we deprive ourselves the privilege and blessing of experiencing God in a unique way. One of the reasons why we’re placed in the underdog position is to have an opportunity to highlight Jesus. When we pull off the amazing upset we need to give God all the glory. When people are astonished over our amazing achievement, we need to use it as an opportunity to tell others about the awesome power of Jesus Christ. Jesus needs to be at the center of our underdog experiences.

· CONTAGIOUS. When people (many of whom are underdogs themselves) see an underdog who rises to the challenge and stands on their convictions despite the odds, they can be inspired to do the same. When they witness the success of the underdog’s courage and confidence that will inspire them to be bold and not back down in the face of threatening obstacles. An underdog is an overachiever when he inspires others to face their giants.

CONCLUSION: In the world of sports, when an underdog is victorious it’s known as an upset. Here is a list of 5 of sport’s biggest upsets.

1) 1980 Olympics-Lake Placid: USA defeats Russia in hockey 4-3. Ragtag group of Americans defeats the Russian team that had dominated the sport for 15 years.

2) 1990 Heavyweight title match-Buster Douglas defeats Mike Tyson: 42-1 underdog Buster Douglas dominates the undefeated Mike Tyson and knocks him out in the 10th round.

3) 2000 Olympics-Sydney: American farm boy Rulan Gardener defeats Russian Alexander Karelin in wrestling 1-0. Karelin hadn’t lost a match in 13 years and no one had scored a point on him in 6 years.

4) 2008-Giants beat Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl 42. Patriots were looking to become the only team to go 19-0. In facing the wildcard Giants, it looked like it was going to happen. In the end, the Patriots had 18 wins and one giant loss.

5) Horse racing- Man-O-War loses his first race. Man-O-War was 20-0. In his 21st race, a 100-1 underdog beat him. The name of the horse that beat him-‘Upset’.

I would guarantee that if you were to ask each of these underdogs, except for Upset the horse, what the secrets to their success were, they would answer conviction, courage and confidence. There may be a lot of people here today that feel like the ultimate underdog. You may be staring at a challenge that appears larger than life. You may feel like you’re facing insurmountable odds. If so, take a look at David’s example. His godly conviction, confidence and courage allowed him to stand in the face of the giant and walk away the victor. The same God that equipped David to win his challenges is the same God that will empower you. If God is placing an impossible challenge in front of you remember what Jesus said, “With God all things are possible.”