Pr. Mike Hanson (Zion Lutheran Church, Cottage Grove, Minn.)

10 April 2012

photo of Pr. Mike HansonDr. Richard Bliese, president of Luther Seminary and professor of Mission, believes that the greatest miracle in the story of David and Goliath (I Samuel 17:20-50) is that Saul actually let the fate of all Israel ride on this kid David and his challenge to Goliath. That’s a huge risk to take!

The mission was to defeat the Philistines. Every resource of Israel had to be stewarded very carefully to do this. There had to be enough troops for the field battle. But there also had to be enough to defend their homes, flocks and fields as well. Being the leader, as Saul was, had to have been as terrifying as it was challenging. And then some kid who didn’t even rank as a raw recruit proposes a completely ridiculous idea. Kind of reminds me how my son used to boast of his ‘abilities’ with little buddies in the back of the van in grade school. There’s no lack of bravado at that age!

Where was God in the mêlée? Oddly enough, he was on David’s side! The side with pebbles and a sling to face the most powerful warrior on the earth. I am quite sure the entire army was convinced that Saul had totally lost it, when he set the fate of all Israel on David’s crazy strategy.

We often fall into this kind of skepticism, trusting in our own age and experience, convinced that the inexperienced and untrained can’t really overcome overwhelming odds. It takes expert advice, right? Not really.

I served a church many years ago that had an unwritten rule: only adults can teach Sunday School. I was in charge of the Sunday School as a part of my job description. I suggested many times that we should engage the high school kids in teaching the younger children, since we were always short of teachers on Sunday morning. That idea was rejected every year (but I never gave up suggesting it). I am REALLY glad that Zion doesn’t have that problem!

However there could be some other areas where we have not recognized God’s anointing on someone or something because it looks unwise or foolish from our more mature vantage point. We think we are being wise stewards of God’s church, could we have missed the gospel boat because we failed to recognize God’s hand as it make’s itself apparent in weakness?

I have no agenda here. I am seriously asking the question, as this story of David has caused me to ponder God’s wondrous and mysterious ways. I know that God always shows his power in weakness. That is fundamental to God’s behavior. He has been doing that for thousands of years. So it has become a guideline for me as well, as I seek to discern his will and his way among us. Let me know what you think. We are on a mission where we are called to steward all things well, not according to our own wisdom, but according to God’s wisdom.

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