FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
EQUIPPING SERVANT LEADERS
January 20, 2016
1 Samuel 17:32-51
This episode of David and Goliath has much to teach us as servant leaders.
First, we face a formidable enemy but must never lose heart.
The Israelites were deathly afraid of Goliath. And why not? He was nine feet nine inches tall and had formidable weapons (see v.4-7)! Saul himself was greatly intimidated, and was even so desperate that on just hearsay, he was willing to see what the non-soldier youth had to say. “Then David spoke to Saul: ‘My lord should not lose heart.’” (v.32a).
We today are being overwhelmed by a tsunami of evil and we face formidable forces of the enemy. For example, in the fight against the culture of death, we face the might of the US government under Obama, the liberal leaders of the European Union, elements of the United Nations under its Secretary General, billionaire depopulationists, international mainstream media, and so on. They are all trying to destroy faith, family and life. We don’t have the money, the political clout, the secular influence, the economic come-ons and the manpower. So many good people don’t even bother to fight, seeing a vain struggle.
As such, Saul told David, “You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.” (v.33). In other words, this is a lost cause. There is nothing we can do but to accept that we cannot win. How ironic and tragic, as God had already determined the outcome. In the same way, Jesus has already won the victory. So we must never lose heart.
Second, this is God’s fight, and God will raise the needed warriors who can win His victory.
David said to Saul, “Let your servant go and fight this Philistine.” (v.33). In truth, the harvest is rich …. but the laborers are few. The victory is ours for the taking, but we do not see this nor do we respond to God’s call. Thus, God has already won the victory, the harvest is prepared, but we need to be the workers to bring in the harvest. We need to respond. “Let your servant go and fight this Philistine.” (v.32b).
In fact, we need to be indignant at the way the forces of the enemy are swarming over God’s people. “This uncircumcised Philistine will be as one of them, because he has insulted the armies of the living God.” (v.36b). But instead, what do we have in our Church? Political correctness. Not wanting to offend by talking about sin. David called it as it is—this uncircumcised Philistine! For many in our Church however, including bishops, we just want to be nice, to be accommodating (even of sin). As such, sin becomes tolerated, and the goal is just to have a nice, friendly, fuzzy-feeling type of relationships among the people of God. Where is, for example, the indignation of Paul when he told the Corinthians to deliver the immoral person to Satan, to purge the evil person from their midst (see 1 Cor 5:1-13)? As it is, some in our Church say, for example, to welcome those in same-sex relationships and not drive them away by talking of their sin.
Third, if this is God’s fight, and He has already defeated the evil one, then God will equip and empower His warriors to claim that victory that has already been won.
“David continued: ‘The same Lord who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” (v.37a). We already know how it will all end. Jesus will come in glory at the end of time, having already defeated the enemy. We are a victorious people. Why then do we act as a defeated people? And be resigned to the enemy who now lords it over us?
Of course it is a continuing struggle and we will still experience difficulties, setbacks, trials, suffering and pain. This is part of it, a product of serving God and entering into spiritual warfare. But we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know that we can finish the race and claim the prize from on high. So we must endure and persevere and never give up. We must even rejoice in tribulation and oppression, because that shows we are really in the thick of the war, and it redounds to our benefit in strengthening us in solid Christian virtues, moving us forward to holiness.
Fourth, as we are called to the New Evangelization, we need to have a fresh vision and new ways of doing evangelization, and not just stick to the old methods and ways.
Saul had been to many battles, and he knew how to be a warrior. So he directed David to fight Goliath as such. “Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic, putting a bronze helmet on his head and arming him with a coat of mail.” (v.38). What was the result? “He walked with difficulty” (v.39b).
We cannot just stick to the old ways, the old methods, even the old ministries and Church organizations. The reality is that, with our parishes very busy and very rich in ministries, we are losing Catholics by the day! We cannot just do more of the same. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result. How very true! That is why we are called to the New Evangelization. The challenge is to expand our vision, or to even radically alter our established paradigms.
This is why the Holy Spirit has raised the Live Christ, Share Christ (LCSC) movement.
Fifth, we fight not according to the ways of the world, which in its own milieu are proven and tested, but according to the ways of God, which to the world seem foolish and impractical.
David told Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of hosts” (v.45a). While our enemies curse and hate us, we bless and love them. While the world retaliates in kind, or even more, to insult or injury, we turn the other cheek. While practically everyone gossips, we guard and tame our tongue. While Christians like short homilies, we must long for long (not long-winded) expositions on the word of God. While Christians are immersed in secular pursuits, we make time (and I say make time) to serve, without counting the cost or the stipend. You get the drift?
We fight as holy warriors. “All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves.” (v.47). We are into spiritual and not secular warfare.
Sixth, we must go off to battle with confidence.
David confidently said to Goliath, “For the battle belongs to the Lord, who shall deliver you into our hands.” (v.46). The whole Israelite army had no such confidence. Every day Goliath taunted them and they cowered. Think about it. We surrender to Satan and his hordes, when we are the people of God! We give up the fight, when the victory is already ours!
Now of course we should not be over-confident. That is not a virtue, as we need to remain humble and know that apart from God we can do nothing. Our confidence is in Him. He will provide us whatever we need.
Seventh, we must be aggressive in bringing the fight to the enemy.
When the fight between David and Goliath started, “David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.” (v.48b). As it is, it is the enemy that is very aggressive. It is US government policy to force the gay agenda on all nations, using economic and political might. The liberals in the West are passing laws that assault pro-lifers, restrict religious freedom, redefine what is a family, impose its evil on others, and so on. The EU requires member-nations to accept LGBT or else be sanctioned or expelled. The list goes on and on.
How about us? Yes, pro-family and pro-life groups are very active, but such has not become mainstream. It should be what the whole Church does. As it is, we even have the enemy within. We need more workers for the harvest. And those workers, who become warriors in this spiritual war, must go on the offensive and assault the dominion of the evil one in the world.
After all that, what then are we to say? “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war; my safeguard and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.”
What else is there? You have been chosen, called, equipped and empowered. “Go! the Lord will be with you.” (v.37b).
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