Daily D – 2 Samuel 5:4
David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in all. 2 SAMUEL 5:4 (NLT)
College was eating my lunch, stealing my milk money, and beating me up with every grade on every assignment. I was ready to quit. I was prepared to get a real job driving a delivery truck like my dad. This was early in the second semester of freshman year. My English professor, I discovered through a friend, was a pastor who was completing the Doctor of Philosophy in preparation for teaching at a Christian college in Winnipeg, Canada.
He had never told us this about himself. I saw him walking across campus one day and asked if I could walk with him for a bit. He agreed. When asked about his alternate identity, he confessed and told me about his plans to move to Winnipeg after his upcoming graduation. He asked my plans and I told him the challenges I was experiencing and how I was ready to drop out and get a real job.
He stopped walking. It took me a couple of steps to notice. When I turned back to him, he asked me how old I was. “Nineteen,” I said. He asked me how long I planned to serve in the ministry. I told him until I retired, if I ever retired. I wasn’t sure that was a biblical option. Then he spoke words that altered my trajectory.
“How old was Moses when he began his leadership of Israel?” I noted that he was eighty years old. “How many years of preparation did it take for him to get ready for that assignment?” he asked. Forty years sounded about right. He went on to ask about Paul’s years of preparation and so on. He finally looked at me and asked if I thought I might need more preparation myself before launching into a career as a Bivocational pastor.
A year and a half passed between college graduation and entry into seminary. The academic advisor I was assigned discussed with me the courses I might take in my first semester. When he brought up the introductory courses to the Old and New Testament, I protested a bit. “I had those courses in college with the Baptist Student Union director.” He urged me to take them again. He said there are some maturity issues that might provide a different perspective now. He provided other wise words for which I am grateful. He passed away a few months ago.
Eight years after the fateful conversation that kept me in college, I graduated with a second degree. I then added a third later. Even so, I still feel like I need to quit and get a real job some days. Impostor Syndrome tends to show up uninvited from time to time.
King David learned early on in life who he was. After dispatching a lion and a bear and a big boy, he was anointed King-Elect. He would take Saul’s place. However, Saul was uninterested in abdication. He was more interested in his son Jonathan stepping into his role, you know, if Saul did not kill him first. David Before He Was King had to live on the run from Saul for years. Think about it. He was probably sixteen-years-old or so when Goliath went down for the count. Today’s text says he was thirty years old when he finally became king of all Israel.
David lived nearly half of his life to that point earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, a dual Master of Divinity and of Worship Arts, and finally, a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership. Having led from each seat on the bus, he was finally prepared to drive. Half of his life to that point was, probably unbeknownst to him, preparation for this commencement.
Those were not David’s last lessons. He had much more to learn. Fortunately, he took good notes. We know much of what he thought and felt. We hear his struggles and we make his prayers our own. We sing his songs of praise. He was a nobody from nowhere plucked from a hillside sheepfold to become one of the most renowned leaders of all time.
Take a good look back. What has God been preparing you for all this time? Today is a good time to become who he has always dreamed you would be. Keep learning. Continue growing. Always develop your mind along with your physical capacities, your emotional maturity, your relational intelligence, your financial acuity, and your spiritual depth.
Present to God the best-equipped, well-trained version of yourself. He will multiply your effectiveness when you do.
I will live the life of a willing learner.
Our Father, we have been called into a life of discipleship. We are followers. We are willing learners. As we follow in your steps, as we open our hearts and minds to your reality and truth, you shape us for significance. You are the Potter. We are the clay. We are instruments in your hand for you to play. Make us fit servants. Make us able communicators. Make something beautiful of our lives. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)