I’m sure many of you have heard the story of David and Goliath. You’re probably familiar with the heroic faith of David, who defeated Israel’s largest enemy.
There’s a part of this story that you may not be so familiar with. I’m talking about one of the events that led up to this epic showdown:
Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.
“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.
-1st Samuel 17:38-40
Saul offered his own armor to David. This was quite an honor, but there was a major problem: David was only a teenage boy, and King Saul was a tall, impressive physical specimen. Simply put, Saul’s armor didn’t fit David. It probably looked like a toddler trying to wear his Dad’s shirt. Even if had fit, David had never worn armor before. He wasn’t a soldier—he was a simple shepherd boy.
David opted to use the humble weaponry of a shepherd—a staff and a sling. We know what happened from there. God gave David a glorious victory!
Why am I talking about Saul’s armor? We have a tendency to compare our talents with the talents of others. Sometimes we obsess over the things we can’t do instead of improving on the things we can do. It’s as though we are saying, “God you made a mistake when you created me. You gave me the wrong talents.” This kind of attitude does not glorify God!
I’ll give you a personal example. I’m not much of a singer. Let’s imagine I auditioned on American Idol and sang Amazing Grace. I think the judges’ reactions would go something like this:
Randy: Yo, dawg . . . this is just not your thing, man.
Paula: Sweetie, I’m afraid I have to say no, but will you marry me? (Remember—we’re just imagining here. I have the right to my own delusions, don’t I?)
Simon: I don’t want to be rude, but that was an amazing disgrace.
You get my point—I could never be a professional singer. I could never lead the music for a worship service. It simply isn’t my gift.
God has, however, given me other gifts. I went through a type of “audition” when I was still a teenager. I was given an opportunity to preach in my church. I am terrified of public speaking, but I sensed God wanted me to step out in faith and try it. It was not my best sermon, but it wasn’t a disaster either. No one went to sleep, no one threw a hymnbook at me, and no one accused me of preaching heresy. The feedback, in fact, was quite encouraging. “I think you’ve found your calling,” a fellow teenager told me.
God has continued to expand my preaching/speaking ministry since then. Do I have great speaking skills? Maybe not, though I’m always trying to improve. Are there preachers/speakers who are more gifted than I? Definitely, but that’s OK—I just want people to be blessed and touched by God when I speak.
Do you frequently compare yourself to others? Are you trying to wear someone else’s armor? Follow the example of David: offer your gifts/talents to God, and expect him to use them as only He can.
(originally posted on my blog: KUYAKEVIN.COM).