Celebrating the Success of Others

Daily Devotional: Day 165

“So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” (1 Samuel 18:7-8, NKJV). 

At a time when victory seemed impossible, David led Israel’s army to defeat Goliath and the Philistines. From an unknown shepherd boy, David suddenly found himself in the limelight. Look at today’s Scripture reading. It sums up David’s rise to fame. The victory over the Philistines led to spontaneous celebration nationwide.

Everything was fine up to this point, until some women got David in trouble. They started comparing David with King Saul. Saul, the women sang, had slain thousands; but David, they gleefully chanted, had slain ten thousands. King Saul didn’t take it well. Feeling threatened by David, he sought every opportunity to destroy him. In reality, David was no threat to Saul; he was, rather, a blessing to Saul. But, overcome by envy and insecurity, Saul failed to see David as a friend, an ally and a blessing from God. The more Saul persecuted David, the smaller he (Saul) became; and the more David prospered.

About two weeks ago, I was speaking with a dear brother in Christ. He said to me that a certain preacher once said, “If you see that your neighbor has been blessed, rejoice; for it means that God is in the neighborhood.”

When you see that someone is blessed, celebrate their success and be happy for them. Let the Christ character take over your response. Your relative or friend has landed a great job; celebrate him. Your neighbor has gained admission to a great program; celebrate him. Your neighbors are blessed with children; celebrate them. Your neighbor is blessed with a beautiful house; be happy for him. Your neighbor is highly talented; be happy for her. Your neighbor is blessed with a beautiful body; be happy for her. Your neighbor is prospering; celebrate him. When you celebrate the success of others, you’re displaying maturity and godliness. Sooner or later, others will be celebrating you.

But when you envy others, it makes you small, insecure, bitter, and blind to the opportunities around you. Because of envy and bitterness, Saul pushed away a man who could have been a great friend, advisor and difference-maker. Greatness isn’t always about what you personally achieve, but also your ability to recognize greatness in others, attract and retain such people and celebrate the blessing upon them. When someone in your life is blessed, make him your friend, not your enemy; make him your ally, not your rival. Count yourself blessed when God brings into your life successful people.

May the Lord make you successful through His grace. Amen.

For further study: Matthew 2:1-20

Stand Out

Daily Devotional: Day 59

“And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine [Goliath], Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite” (1 Samuel 17:57-58, RSV).

 David had begun to cause a stir in Saul’s palace. People were beginning to take notice of his outstanding virtues. So did King Saul. Consequently, he ordered Abner, commander-in-chief of his army, to look into David’s family background. In today’s Scripture passage, we learn that after David returned from conquering Goliath, Abner brought him to Saul. Saul’s question and David’s reply are the basis for our reflection today. It hadn’t been long since David started serving under Saul. Yet the King noticed something extraordinary about David. He noticed his upright conduct, his bravery, his respectful attitude, his confidence, his humility, his talents and his fear of God. This made the King curious, and he summoned David to learn more about his background. His question to David is simple, yet profound: Whose son are you? Saul wanted to trace the connection between David and his parents, for as the English adage goes, “an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Being a king, Saul had had many people serve under him, but David stood out. 

In the New Testament, a similar incident occurred in the life of Jesus. As people noticed his outstanding qualities, they wondered what could be his secret: “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? . . . Where then did this man get all this?” (Matthew 13:54-56). Notice that Jesus stood out, as did David. It’s your turn to stand out. You don’t have to repeat exactly what David or Jesus did, for circumstances are different. However, no matter what you do or where you find yourself, God wants you to stand out for his glory. God doesn’t want you to just be like everyone else. His anointing is upon you; you’re part of his royal priesthood and his holy nation. Everywhere you go, and whatever you do, remember that you bear the Name of Christ. Whatever people say about you affects the Name your bear, positively or negatively. Stand out, therefore, not only for Jesus, but also for the honor of your earthly family.

Prayer:

Daddy, thank you that I can call you my Father. I know that you have blessed me with immense potential. Stir within me a spirit of excellence. And whatever I do, or wherever I go, let me shine for your glory. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. 

For further study: Daniel 1:1-21

Do Your Assignment Well

Daily Devotional: Day 40

“And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him” (1 Samuel 17:34-35, KJV).

 Whatever assignment is entrusted to you, be sure to do it well, whether someone is watching or not. Today’s Scripture focuses on David as he prepared to take on Goliath. King Saul tried in vain to discourage David from fighting the Philistine. Today’s Bible verse tells us about part of David’s response to the King. Notice that David speaks of his experience in protecting his father’s sheep from the lion and the bear. Jesse, his father, assigned David to the tending of the sheep. That must have kept him away from the comfort of the home for considerable amount of time during the day. Being out with the flock also meant that David’s life as a shepherd was constantly at risk.

The fact that David talks about lion and bear means that not only were the sheep’s life at risk, but his own life, too. Let’s note also that in those times, keeping livestock was an important source of the family’s sustenance. This means the success of the family, at least in part, depended on David’s diligence in keeping the flock safe and sound. David goes on to say that when a lion or a bear took one of the lambs, he pursued it and delivered it out of the predator’s mouth; and if the lion or bear attacked him, he slew it without hesitation.

The above story has implications for all children of the Father. You see, God, being a good Father, has great plans to grow you into maturity. But maturity takes time, discipline, consistency and faithfully executing tasks assigned to you. People often admire David for his slaying of Goliath but they don’t emphasize enough the fact that David was first a Lion and Bear Slayer, before he became a Giant Slayer. This means King Saul was mistaken when he assumed that David had no experience in fighting. God had been training David, preparing him for the big stage. After overcoming the threat of lions and bears, David was ready for Goliath, and when the latter showed up, he was no match for David.

The lesson here is this: Whatever you do, do it well. Don’t take it lightly when any task is assigned to you, whether at school, at the workplace, at home, or at church. Whatever challenge you encounter, look for ways to overcome it, instead of running from it. Remember that each time you embrace a challenge and overcome it, you become stronger and better than before. The first time David was attacked by a lion, he could have gone home and decided never to shepherd the flock again. But he didn’t. He embraced the challenge of protecting the flock and accomplishing the task assigned to him. Little did he know that one day, he would be leading Israel into battle. The easy way isn’t always the best way. Learn from David.

Pray:

Dear Father, Jesus did not run from his assignment. Grant me the boldness to face adversity and the faith to overcome it. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Hebrews 12:1-13