"NOW the Lord said to Samuel, 'How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I will send you to Jesse, the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.' But Samuel said 'How can I go? When Saul hears of it he will kill me.' And the Lord said 'Take a heifer with you and say I have come to sacrifice to the Lord'" - 1 Samuel 16:1-2
Samuel has proven himself as a man of prayer and a true spiritual leader. Yet, proven and tested leadership is not without vulnerability. It is neither a scandal nor an issue of corruption that Samuel was guilty of. He is clean. It is a different kind of spiritual decay, the kind that even a veteran servant of God cannot detect. It now takes a special confrontation from the Lord so that his servant may come back to his senses and redeem what was once sharp but is now numb.
Chapter 16 deals with Samuel's last assignment before he retired and expired. Do you still remember the days before your retirement? Do you have the courage to look at it even when it is still far down the road?
In the case of Samuel, God needed to intervene or else he would die afraid and numb. His last assignment from God was to anoint Israel's new king, David, the youngest son of Jesse. Longevity in ministry has its own undetected virus... a subtle affection for the work and the webs of relationships around it. As for Samuel, the Lord needed to redefine His calling versus his grieving over Saul from whom God had withdrawn His presence. The Lord needed to redefine his courage which was now diluted by his fear that Saul might kill him.
If God did not intervene, Samuel would have died totally untransformed. At this critical crossroad, before his retirement, God granted Samuel the opportunity to end well! How? By giving him his last assignment which was also his redefining moment... that he may end up a victor and not a victim.
Samuel's final assignment was actually God's grace to Samuel... giving him the courage to walk by faith rather than retire in fear. Secondly, this is the kind of grace that led him to a "redefining" moment of redemption which allowed Samuel to be bold in the Lord and not end up as a political puppet... a picture of a God-rejected King. What God commanded him to do clearly became the vehicle to a redefining moment to take a risk again instead of dying safe!
We all need redefining moments especially when we begin to think and act as if we have already figured it all out. Redefining moments sharpen our spiritual senses so we do not become spiritually numb. All of you nearing retirement badly need this last assignment... a special time of redefining your call; your courage and your discernment as we finish well and quietly fade! Rejoice over this chance to change, before we end. Let us all end well and exit fast.
I always write from my heart. Thanks for reading.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on August 17, 2017.
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