1 Samuel 17: 17-23
Now Jesse said to his son David, ‘Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.’
Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it.
David’s dad calls him in and says: 'Son, I want you to bring some sandwiches down to your brothers, take this picnic and away you go.'
If I had been David I might have said: 'Dad, don’t you know who I am? Were you not there when Samuel poured the oil over me and anointed me king. I’m royalty, I’m not some messenger boy. Find someone else to take the sandwiches. I’m above such menial tasks.'
That’s what David could have said. Look at what actually happened.
“Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed.”
He just obeys and does whatever is asked of him, even if it’s not that significant or important. He just gets on with serving.
No matter what position or status or role or leadership we have – we always remain a servant. You never outgrow being a servant. It’s a job for life.
Over the years I’ve met plenty of people want to be up here at the front speaking, leading or singing – but they don’t want to put out chairs or make tea and coffee or take a Sunday school class. That’s not their gifting – theirs is a more public anointing.
In my experience God blesses churches where people know how to serve behind the scenes - giving and praying and caring and offering whatever they have. Whatever the task is, they just get on with it. Even if it’s not what they want to do for the rest of their lives, even if they have had great prophecies over their lives about reaching the nations for God.
The reality is - You’ll never reach the nations if you can’t reach the person next door to you.
Everybody wants to be a servant until someone treats us like one. We all want to serve, but on our terms, and within certain criteria. In Mark 9:35 Jesus says this:
“If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
In God’s Kingdom, the only way up is down, the way to greatness is always through service, the way to the top is through sacrifice and humility. There’s no other way.
But look what happens as David serves. He gets his opportunity to step up and fight Goliath.
In the mundane, in the ordinary, in the everyday, in the unimportant – came the moment when David would step out and step up from just being a little messenger boy to becoming known as a warrior and potential king. He didn’t plan it, it’s wasn’t that he manoeuvred or manipulated things to be this way. It was just the way God does things. As we are faithful in serving, God puts opportunities in front of us.
One day David’s an unknown, delivering cheese sandwiches to his brothers – the next day the women on the streets are making up songs about is bravery and courage. But it only happened because David knew how to serve in the small things.
In Luke 16:10 Jesus says this:
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
God has so much He wants to give you, he has so much planned for you and significant things He want to do through you. He needs one qualification from you and that is servanthood. That you just know how to serve even when no one is looking, in the unimportant and insignificant places. Even when you don’t feel like it, even when it’s not comfortable, even when you’d rather be doing something else. Just get on with serving.
In 1939, Howard Guinness, one of the early founders of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, wrote a little book called 'Sacrifice'. He wrote,
“Where are the young men and women of this generation who will hold their lives cheap and be faithful even unto death? Where are those who will lose their lives for Christ’s sake — flinging them away for love of him? Where are those who will live dangerously and be reckless in his service? Where are his lovers — those who love him and the souls of men more than their own reputations or comfort or very life?
Where are the men who say ‘no’ to self, who take up Christ’s cross to bear it after him, who are willing to be nailed to it in college or office, home or mission field, who are willing, if need be, to bleed, to suffer and to die on it?
Where are the adventurers, the explorers, the buccaneers for God, who count one human soul of far greater value than the rise or fall of an empire? Where are the men who are willing to pay the price of vision? Where are the men of prayer? Where are God’s men in this day of God’s power?”