Tests for Success
"But David said to Saul, 'Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.'" 1 Samuel 17:34-35, NKJV
If you want to be promoted by God in your sphere of life, it starts with this one area: Be Faithful in Natural Things.
David – before he was called, anointed and appointed to his God-ordained role as the King of Israel – was faithful as a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep. By passing the faithfulness tests in natural, everyday things (among other tests), he developed and demonstrated that he had the wisdom and character necessary to take on the lofty role of King. David had to pass this test before God could give him the honor of being established as a leader in spiritual, military or political things.
David’s journey started in Bethlehem. He was the youngest of eight boys. He was the least likely to be chosen as king – yet the Bible tells us that while man looks on the outside, God looks at the heart. When the Lord sent the prophet Samuel to call and anoint David to be the King of Israel, he was just a boy. He was caring for his father’s sheep. He wasn’t in college studying political science. He wasn’t in seminary studying Jewish history. He was not in military school learning the art of war. He was in Bethlehem, tending sheep. He was simply being faithful in natural things. Let’s talk about it.
David in Bethlehem: Faithful in Natural Things
David had received instructions from his father to tend the sheep. This is the starting block for all success. If we want to stand perfect and complete in everything God has called us to do – we must start in our “Bethlehem” by being faithful in natural things.
We can learn a lot from David. When he was tending his father’s sheep, he was being faithful in another man’s endeavor. These were not David’s sheep. These were his father’s sheep. His task was to feed, lead and protect them. It wasn’t that glamorous or spiritual. He didn’t receive too many accolades and in fact, his older brother insulted and minimized what he did by calling them his “few sheep.” It was just routine work. It was the bottom of the totem pole. It was his starting point. His assignment? Lead the sheep to a brook and green pastures. Watch the sheep and go after any that go astray. Protect the sheep from all enemies. (David protected the sheep by killing a lion and a bear.) Do a good job – even when no one but the sheep are watching. Basic stuff. In his spare time, David worshipped God. He played his “guitar” (harp) and wrote songs to the Lord. We get the benefit of reading some of those songs in Psalms.
What is your “Bethlehem?” What natural things do you need to be faithful over?
Kids/Students: Do you have a grand vision to be used by God in a mighty way? It starts in “Bethlehem: Faithful in Natural Things.” Your “Bethlehem” might be as natural as your bedroom. Have your parents asked you to make your bed, keep your bedroom clean and do your laundry? Are you being faithful in these natural things? Is your bedroom spotless? Are you going over and above the call of duty? Are you doing your laundry? Changing your sheets? Keeping your room fresh? If you can pass this simple test of being faithful in natural things – God can promote you to the next season He has for your life.
If you continue to flunk this test – you’ll have to keep retaking it. So, why not make a decision today to be faithful in natural basic things?
Adults: Do you want to get promoted? Launch out in ministry? Start your own business? It starts in “Bethlehem: Faithful in Natural Things.” Your “Bethlehem” may be simple things. Doing your best at a job you don’t love. Managing your money according to God’s plan. It might be as natural as giving excellence to all things domestic. It may be paying attention to details. It might be working for someone else for several years, or a decade or two. What natural things has God asked you to do – with excellence? What is your “Bethlehem?”
Sometimes, we think we can be sloppy in the “Bethlehem” season. We think we can graduate to greater things while being unfaithful in natural things. We can’t! We must pass the faithfulness test in natural things if we want God to give us greater responsibility or influence. The Lord watches our faithfulness in natural things. He watches how we behave in Bethlehem. If we don’t take care of natural things like cleaning our bedroom, taking care of our home, mowing our lawn, keeping our yard looking neat, maintaining our car, paying bills on time, being a good steward, getting to our job on time, meeting deadlines at work, turning in the required paperwork, paying attention to details, following orders and communicating clearly with others, how can we expect anyone – including the Lord – to promote us?
If we can’t be faithful in “Bethlehem: In Natural Things” – how can the Lord open more important doors for us? If you don’t want to keep retaking this test, make a decision to focus on being exceptionally faithful in natural things.
Today – why not take inventory of your “Bethlehem” and grade yourself on how well you are doing in being faithful in natural things. Make a decision to pass the “Bethlehem: Faithful in Natural Things” test, so you can move on to greater things!
“…I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry…” (1 Timothy 1:12, NKJV)
Say It: “Father, help me to inspect my life. Give me the wisdom and discernment I need to grade myself in my ‘Bethlehem.’ Help me to become excellent and faithful in natural things. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”