Memo 1038: Too Gifted

Last week, we saw that God enrolled David in the Saul Academy where King Saul and his family played a major role in David's preparation to be the next king. Little did David suspect at the time that he would end up the king's son-in-law, that the king's son would become his best friend, and that Saul's mercurial temperament would threaten to keep David from ever assuming the throne. David's qualifications for this unique training in the Saul Academy were described by one of Saul's attendants:

“I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.” Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul (1 Samuel 16:18-20).

Let's examine these qualities more closely this week as we pursue the reason for this entry's title, "Too Gifted."

HOW DID HE DO IT?

How did Saul's aide know so much about David? Where had he observed him to gather such a dossier on David's skills and habit? I would assume shepherds worked together, getting to know one another as they did, but how many men would that have involved? Here is a list of David's outstanding qualities:

  1. He could play the lyre well. Where did he learn to play? Who taught him? Who was his audience when he did play?
  2. He was brave. That means he had to engage scenarios where his bravery was revealed. We learn later from David's own testimony that he killed bears and lions in the line of duty. Who knew shepherding could be that risky?
  3. He was a warrior. You don't get a reputation as a fighter by only taking on wildlife. David must have had encounters with other men and came out victorious from his skirmishes with them.
  4. He speaks well. David was eloquent, which means he was not a loner out in a field somewhere tending a few sheep. He had relationships with others.
  5. He was a fine-looking man. Like Esther, David looked the part of royalty. Since we have nothing to do with our natural looks, it means that God created David not to be an obscure figure but a charismatic leader.
  6. God was with him. I'm not sure how the man came to that conclusion, but he must have witnessed or heard about David's deeds or presence that indicated he was no ordinary soul. God had chosen to partner with David and the results were obvious.

Once again, this makes David's lack of attention from his family all the more startling, for the list above is an impressive array of qualifications for significance. At any rate, we are pretty much left in the dark as to how David earned these accolades but we will take them as historic facts and move on to extract lessons relevant to us from his life.

TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN

The stage was set for David to be a leader of men but it was also set for him to yield to pride and arrogance. David had an impressive array of strengths and it would have been easy for him to think he deserved the throne because he was special. He was good at what he did not so much because he was good at what he did in his own right but because God was with him. God set out a special path that would keep David on the humble road rather than the pride freeway. What's more, God did not equip David so he could be a celebrity, even though he did become one (and still is to this day). God had work for David to do and he was going to need all that he had to get the job done.

You may be able to quote Jesus' words to the effect that "to whom much is given, much is required." Let's look at that statement in context:

“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (Luke 12:47-48).

You too have been given an impressive array of gifts and grace. What's more, it can be said of you as it was of David that "The Lord is with you." What are you doing with that magnificent truth? You, like David, can do something well. it may be singing, or cooking, or speaking, or youth work, or creative expressions. Do other people know you do those things? Do you have a good reputation because of the work you do? Or have you hidden away your talents, placing them under a bushel so to speak. Do you "look good" like David did, but instead of using your charm or charisma for the good of God's kingdom, you take it for granted and use it only in career or special relationships?

David was a gifted man, too gifted for God to use him in a small, insignificant way and the same is true for you. God has made a marvelous investment into your life. Are you being a good steward, or are you too gifted for your own good, refusing the responsibility that comes with God's gracious deposit? I urge you to make your own inventory list of who you are and what God has enabled you to do and then determine not to let those things go to waste but to produce much from and because of the gift package God has given you. Have a blessed week.