Intro - Thank people, summarize series ideas, and then move into the main idea...
It’s hard to stay in the moment, isn’t it? It is hard to experience life where you are when you are dreaming about what you will one day become. It can be even harder to look backwards, and see all the ways in which had we just been fully present and invested where we were at that time, we would have been better prepared for those next moments that we are given.
That’s the funny thing about life. When we are right in the middle of it, living it, we tend to want to be somewhere else, and when we are somewhere else, we would give anything to go back in time and get right back in the middle of things!
To put it bluntly, we give up today in hopes of securing tomorrow. And for some of us, we put off today, and then procrastinate tomorrow and we keep putting things off, we keep looking ahead, we keep floating along through life, never really experiencing the moments we are in. Never really devoting all of our energy to the place we are right here, right now.
We just go through the motions.
This series is intended to help us all deal with that in our own lives. Those moments when we would rather look away, or look to the future, or look at something else we might want. Those moments that God planned out for each and every one of us - moments that we all too often sweep away as unimportant. Those are the moments we will be talking about, and church, those are the moments that we need to focus all our energy on.
We start that today, by being reminded that we are made for this moment. You were made for this moment. Not just this moment today, or this season in your life - but this moment in history, in this place, in this world! You were made to be here at this exact moment! You ever think about that? You were! And not only that, you were made to have a purpose in this moment! And that purpose, that reason for being here, is that you were made to prepare for something, I don’t know what it is, buy you were made to prepare for it! And the only way you can prepare for it, is to do what you have in front of you this day.
[pic of a shepherd]
That reminds me of a story that you all know very well. It is a story that comes on the heels of God’s people calling out to be lead by a King. They had been ruled by Judges, but they saw everyone else around them being ruled by Kings, and they just had to have one too.
So God gave them a king. But that king turned from God and forgot his calling. Now those of you who know the story of this King, Saul, know that he kept some of the spoils of war that God wanted him to destroy. But his detachment from God’s plan would have been much bigger than that. As with us, our outward sins, our refusal to follow God publically, is just a result of a deeper separation from God’s will. And moreover, as a leader, whether at home, work, or those in charge of kingdoms and countries, your outward shortcomings, or transgressions, are a sign of a far deeper issue. And those issues can reek havock on those being led.
So you can imagine there was probably a feeling of uncertainty to the kingdom. There was probably a lot of plotting and posturing. I imagine there were people, from the top to the bottom, who were looking at the future, and trying to force God’s will on their kingdom, whether for good or ill.
But still there was one who was listening. One through whom God spoke. And that one is who we will read about today.
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
Now when I think of staying in the moment - this idea that we are to fully invest ourselves right where and when we are - I think of this story. I really do.
I think of it so much, that when I first thought of doing a brief summer series, I thought of doing some of the great old stories from the Old Testament that we all know, and when I thought about that, this story came to mind, and honestly this theme came with it!
You see, David, or all the great people of the Bible, knew how to stay in the moment.
How do I know that? Well the Bible tells me! You see sometimes the answers we seek are in the text because they aren’t there. They are present in their omission. Just like in our lives, our intentions show themselves both by what we do, and by what we don’t do.
As our story unfolds, we see this scene set. Jesse has his sons, gathered in some semblance of order to be reviewed by Samuel. They are all consecrated, and are ready for the sacrifice.
Now this is where the text reminds us, by the way, that Samuel coming over would have been a pretty big deal! This isn’t your neighbor bringing brownies, church, this is THE prophet! The one who anointed the King the Jewish people so longed for. The one who speaks directly with God!
He’s kind of a big deal.
So everyone in the household, and probably the neighborhood, if not the entire town, knew about it. It is about like the president coming to your house, really. It really is! Listen the text even leads us to understand that so many people would know that Samuel was there that God helped him have an excuse!
And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.”
So even Saul would know! Everyone would hear about it. This wasn’t a quiet thing. This was a huge deal.
So even Saul would know! Everyone would hear about it. This wasn’t a quiet thing. This was a huge deal.
But church, even so, when Jesse assembles his sons, there seems to be a glaring omission that tells us everything.
There are only seven.
But not only are there only seven sons there, that’s just part of it. That isn’t the part that let’s me know anything at all about David. No it is the fact that David, this young man who no doubt wondered about what was going on back at the house, wasn’t sitting in the window, or nosing around the door, or trying to sneak a look at what was going on.
[pic of david shepherd]
No, David wasn’t doing that. David wasn’t wasting the moments he was given either jockeying for position or nosing around to see which brother was chosen.
No, David was tending his sheep.
He was tending the flock entrusted to him. He was, for lack of a better phrase, doing his job! He didn’t break the trust of the one who had entrusted him with the responsibility of the flock and the work that he was to complete that day!
And church, you need to take that point to heart this morning. Every day, every single day, you are entrusted with some set of tasks. Some responsibility. Something that God really wants you to do that day. And the more you mess around, the more you shirk jobs that you have been given, the further away from God’s will you will find yourself! And not only that, church, but when you do that you are limiting God’s reach in your life, and you are acting as if what He has given you to do isn’t just as important, if not more, that what you think you want to do!
That is what David is showing us here. He just kept doing his job. He didn’t stress about something he would have wanted to have, because quite frankly, that would be far less than what God would want him to have in that moment!
And really, our lives are EXACTLY the same! We have all these moments; moments that should prepare us for the moments that are to come, but all too often, the moments that we have are squandered on frivolous things that we think we want or need, but that when done, do nothing to prepare us for the future that God wants for us!
This message, and this story hits me as close to home as any I have preached. You see I have been in David’s shoes. I have been in a position where I had to fight the urges to insert myself into a discussion that had nothing to do with me. I have been in situations where I kept reaching for more just knowing that it what God wanted me to do.
But every time I would reach, and then neglect some other part of my calling, I found failure. It wasn’t until I realized that my job was to do my job and wait on God to call me from the pasture, rather than anticipating that call and making my way before God needed me! My job was to stay in the moment and stop worrying about the moments that might come out on the horizon! My goals are beyond that horizon! And the only way I, or any of us, can make it is to cling to one simple truth.
God is preparing you for what He has prepared for you
That is all. That is what we need to realize church.
God is preparing you for what HE has prepared for you. He isn’t preparing you for what you have prepared for yourself tomorrow, or out there on the horizon. He isn’t preparing you for some other idea of your dreams that may or may not be in line with His will. He is preparing you, in this very moment, for what He has prepared for you in the other moments He has waiting on you!
[pic of investing]
So with that in mind, what do we do?
You have to invest in those moments church. You can’t just invest in what you want to invest in. Just like with a financial advisor, you have to trust them to make the best decisions for you. And what is telling about our faith, y’all, is that we seem more than willing to trust those other flawed humans with our money, but we don’t trust our moments and our futures to God!
It’s funny to think about that way, but it’s true! We continually invest with 401k’s, and IRA’s, led all the time by flawed humans, and at the same time we sit and read God’s word and feel His Spirit and still only invest in our moments the way we want, and not the way God intends!
But church, we need to fully invest in every moment God gives us for Him! We need to be fully present right where we are, no matter where God puts us! Whether its moments with family, or moments with friends, or moments alone with God. Whether you are doing something you think will lead you to your future, or doing something that seems beneath you, you have to fully invest in those moments! You have to be sure not to look past those moments so that you can actually get all that God intends for you to get out of those moments!
Listen, if you aren’t fully invested in your moments for God, or fully invested in your family, you will never experience all those things that God wants you to experience! On top of that, you will miss out on all the moments, all those magic little moments that become the sum total of our lives! And not just you! But your children, your families, your friends, your church, your God - they are all left wanting for all those moments that they had with you! They are left wondering what the best version of you could have been, had we just given everything we could every chance we could!
Church, what could we be, if we just went all in with all of our moments?
No we have to invest all we can in those moments that seem insignificant. Those moments when we are tending the flock while all our friends or family are contemplating who would be King! We have to invest in every moment, because quite honestly, if we don’t, there is little to no way for us to ever know God or each other!
I mean, how much time do we really have? How many chances are this moment are we given?
Listen, if someone put you in a booth filled with $100 bills flying through the air, would you just watch them fly by? No! You would risk losing all modesty and decorum to grab as many of those bills as possible!
But here we sit, church, watching time, something far more valuable than money, flying by WHILE AT THE SAME TIME HOPING THAT TOMORROW IS SOMEHOW MAGICALLY MORE FULFILLING, AND MORE PROSPEROUS THAN TODAY! WE HOPE BEYOND HOPE THAT LIFE WILL CHANGE, THAT WE WILL BE RULED BY A KING, OR THAT GOD WOULD COME AND LIVE AMONG US, OR THAT WHATEVER IS AFFECTING US WILL GO AWAY, AND AS WE DREAM THOSE DREAMS, GOD IS WATCHING THOSE MOMENTS HE HAS GIVEN US TO ACTUALLY GET CLOSER TO HIM FLY BY WITH NO CHANCE OF RETURNING!
You see, you weren’t made to squander time. You weren’t made to dream about life and not live it.
You were made for this moment, the one you are in, just as much as David was. And like David, if we would just do our jobs, whatever jobs we are given by God in that moment, we will be an integral part of His Kingdom.
If we just prove trustworthy in a little, those tiny moments when no one is looking, then we will be entrusted with so much more, church.
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Don’t act as if this is optional either. It isn’t. This is the root of our faith lives. Our lives are intended to be founded on Christ, and not just some passing understanding of Christ as passed down from pulpit to pulpit, but a true, deep, abiding knowledge of the Creator of all things! A relationship forged in trust and investment!
[luke 9:62 msg]
62 Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”
Don’t act as if this is optional either. It isn’t. This is the root of our faith lives. Our lives are founded on Christ, and not just some passing understand of Christ as passed down from pulpit to pulpit, but a true, deep, abiding knowledge of the Creator of all things! A relationship forged in trust and investment!
We have to seize those moments. Seize those opportunities to talk to Christ. Seize those chances to listen for Christ through all or our moments. Never stop reaching for the best of each moment you are given. Never stop, because church, your moments are preparing you for greatness. Your moments might be preparing you to be king, even though you are a shepherd. Your moments are preparing you for the greatest moments God could ever offer, and church, even if those moments don’t materialize the way you want them to in this life, they will without a doubt lead you to eternal moments in the very presence of God if you just make the most of every opportunity to be with Him!
No procrastination, no looking back. This isn’t something that you can just wait to do tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come! No, God’s Kingdom, whatever that might look like in our lives, needs to start today. Seize the moment you are given, because you were made for it.
You know, one of the hardest things to articulate to people is the experience of knowing Christ. I think it is hard, because if you want to experience something, you yourself has to experience it.
The only way to do it, is to do it.
And if you haven’t experienced Christ, or you think you want to experience Him more. Today is the day for that. This is the moment. Take this moment, and make the most of it. Whether you want to join this body of believers, rededicate your life to Christ, or give your heart to Jesus and be baptized, whatever the needs of your heart and soul, church, I am here to help you pray through them. And more importantly, God is here...