You are not an afterthought

Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” 1Samuel 16:10, 11

You ever felt like an afterthought? Like no one believes you are capable, right for the job or worth much? I got just the story for you, pull up a chair and enjoy.  Oh, by the way, it’s a true story.

All of Jesse’s boys were lined up, except for the youngest, David. One of them would be anointed to be the next King of Israel. The father knew David was just not the sort to be the next King; the thought was ridiculous!  He was only a shepherd boy and he was the youngest in the family.  He was not daddy’s pride and joy.  He would not inherit the mantle of leadership for the family.  He was meant to be a follower and therefore his presence was unnecessary.

The prophet came.  He was no ordinary man.  He had been the sole source of leadership and power in Israel for many years. He was the judge, high Priest of Israel and he was a king maker. He was God’s man and therefore one could argue still the true source of power in all of Israel.  For all of Samuel’s glory Jesse did not think it important for David to be present.  If you left it up to Jesse, his youngest son would miss perhaps one of the greatest events in Bethlehem’s history. Samuel, the prophet had come to town.

The present King had fallen out of favor with God and soon the kingdom would be taken away and given to another man.  But who would be that man?  This was the purpose for which Samuel found himself in this small town.  He was looking for a king.

One by one Jesse’s son came before Samuel, and each time, they were rejected by God. Soon Samuel and Jesse were out of Boys.  The great prophet turns to Jesse and says “Do you have another son.” Jesse responds that he is the youngest and that he is tending the sheep. Samuel is not dissuaded and demands the young boy’s presence. When David arrives immediately God tells Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” (1Samuel 16:12) This afterthought, unlikely candidate, became the greatest King in Israelite history; easily Israel’s greatest hero.

When self-doubt sets in and others would have you believe you’re not good enough, I think it’s best to remember that it’s not up to them or you, to decide who is not good enough. That’s God’s decision: the God who looks at the heart and sees the true nature of a person. He alone knows your true potential. Chances are it is greater than what you think!

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What shall we do with Jesus?

And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.  And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. Matthew 27:28-31

Roman soldiers took the creator of the universe and stripped Him of all his clothes. Then they put a red robe on him. They put a crown of thorns on his head and mocked him. They called him the king of the Jews. Then they took a reed and beat him over the head. They spat upon him and then took Him to be crucified. These soldiers of Rome had no idea who was in their presence, the almighty and holy God, the eternal creator of the universe. At any moment he could have brought their lives to an end or even worst reversed roles with them. But he chose to show mercy and endure.

Makes me wonder how our treatment of Jesus has changed. Surely many treat Him as he rightfully deserves. They worship and adore Him. They faithfully serve Him and sacrifice to please Him. Yet many others do not. Some are still mocking. They find joy in making fun of their creator. They make fun of Him who was sinless but carried all our sins, He who quietly gave his life so that all might live.

Some deny He ever existed, even in the face of massive historical evidence. They would rather pretend that the man who started a massive revolution that would overturn Roman society completely, never walked in Galilee.

Others belittle who he was. To them he was a fine teacher, with brilliant ideas about how we should treat each other, but in doing so they indirectly call him a liar or a lunatic, since He claimed to be the messiah and the son of God. They also belittle his death, turning his sacrifice into nothing more than a sad case of Roman injustice.

For some of us Jesus is just an afterthought. After the work day is done, the chores are complete, errands are run, and facebook time is over, then we remember to pray a few words in hopes of getting something from our Lord.

Perhaps it is time to reconsider how we are treating our Lord. We can only hope he is still saying Father forgive them for they know not what they do. But here’s a scary thought, perhaps our generation doesn’t get a free pass, because we do know, don’t we?

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