David’s steps rhymed with his breathing. He needed a break in his routine and his brothers needed supplies, so his feet hurried toward the battlefield.
Everyone knows what happened next.
David delivered the food. Floyd “Pretty Boy” Mayweather, who held eleven world titles and was undefeated with a 48-0 record, (AKA Goliath) strutted out and jeered at Israel’s army. Saul and the other soldiers ran like terrified squirrels in front of a fox.
David volunteered to attack the giant. After a spirited discussion among the experts about whether David had a fighting chance, they all crossed their fingers, held their breath, and prayed while David descended into the valley and gobsmacked the giant. David sawed off Goliath’s head and held it high for all to see while the birds above did laps and waited for their meal.
God achieved a great victory; David was His instrument. Twenty minutes later — before the adrenaline rush wore off — David penned these leadership lessons:
- Always compare the size of your giant to the size of God.
Everyone is tempted to view people and circumstances through human eyes. After all, everyone happens to be human. But when something in the world needs to change, when God stirs a holy discontent in your heart, it’s a cop-out to dismiss the call because the problem is too big. It’s a lack of faith. You are letting down God when you attempt only things that you can do without Him.
When I was a young pastor (that goes back a while), I was listening to Rick Warren at a pastors’ conference. “I don’t believe in the word impossible,” he announced with a full-fledged smirk on his face, “because with God, all things are possible. In fact,” he continued, “I deployed a pair of scissors, and I cut that word out of my dictionary!” I don’t remember whether anyone else applauded, but I did.
David saw what no one else could see: that the size of the giant is irrelevant when compared with the size of God.
What giant is God prompting you to defeat? How big is that giant? How big is God?
- Don’t let criticism keep you from God’s call.
Let’s be honest. It’s easier to criticize someone who sets a big goal than to stick your neck out and try something crazy. Most people are intimidated by people with unreasonable faith so they try to cut them down to size. Who should have challenged Goliath? Saul, the biggest guy on Israel’s side of the creek and the so-called leader of Israel. So when David stepped up and volunteered, Saul’s knee-jerk response was, “You are not able. You are a 98-pound weakling compared to this terrifying warrior.” (See 1 Samuel 17:33.)
Saul was looking out for David; he had David’s best interest at heart. He wanted to protect him from humiliation and defeat. As the wise, experienced sage, Saul framed the context. He put the situation into perspective. But he didn’t factor in God. So he was wrong.
David was fully aware that the stakes were high. If he failed, he would be bird food. He expected for God to come through, but if God didn’t, he was okay with that. It was simply not acceptable to him to sit back and let this giant mock God.
Hang this on a hook inside your mind: Whenever you decide to do something audacious for God, your biggest critics will not be atheists; they will be Christian people who “know better”. They don’t want you to get hurt. They love you and care about you. They are trying to protect you. Here’s a reality check: Hopefully someone will rally with you and cheer you on, but be ready for the older and wiser crowd to try and pull you down.
What impact does criticism have on you? Does it inspire you to prove the naysayers wrong (with God’s help, of course)? Or does it send you into meltdown mode where you’re paralyzed into inaction?
- Use what you have, and leave the results to God.
In his book David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell argues that David actually had the upper hand in his encounter with Goliath — because David used what he had. David didn’t attempt to fight Goliath on Goliath’s terms. (Gladwell’s conclusions are somewhere between fascinating and convincing. If you haven’t already, be sure to read his book.)
Wearing Saul’s armor made things worse, so David looked at his inventory and chose the weapon that fit this situation. Since he didn’t have video games or iTunes to pass the time while watching his dad’s sheep, he wrote and sang songs and he practiced hurling stones at a target. He wasn’t just good, he was darn good. He could bury a stone in a pomegranate from 50 yards away, and he could take down a lion or a bear. When David later won over his sixth wife, he might have used his harp to entertain and woo her. But that was unlikely to work with Goliath, so he used the weapon he knew best: his trusty sling.
David walked toward the loud mouth, the spear, and the armor, grasped his sling in one hand and the stones in the other, and shouted, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands. I will strike you down and cut off your head (so do you want to hand me your sword now, or do I have to take it away from you?).”
God doesn’t call people to action without simultaneously equipping them to succeed. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize all of your assets, but find them and use them. And get ready to be part of a miracle.
What cause is God calling you to tackle? What do you have that He might be able to use? When will you get started?