This past Saturday I went to see my friends Lorin and Dean get married. They got married out at a barn in Winchester, VA and it was beautiful. It was great to get away from the city traffic and busyness and get out to the country. I evern saw a herd of sheep grazing in a field.
The sheep made think about King David when he was a shepherd and what he had to spend his days looking at. I haven’t spent too much time around sheep so I tried watching them for a bit.
After a few moments, I quit. Did you know sheep don’t really do anything at all? No jumping over fences. No mating rituals. They just sit there and eat grass. And then they eat grass. After they’re done eating grass, sometimes they will eat grass.
I started really feeling bad for the shepherds I’ve always read about in the Bible. What a boring job. I once had a job where all I did was type patient information into a database, and I thought that was boring. But being a shepherd miles away from your home by yourself wins most boring job of all time.
It’s no wonder that David’s father Jesse overlooked him when the priest Samuel came to his home to anoint one of his sons to be Israel’s king. His father may not have even overlooked him; he might have just straight forgotten about him because they probably hadn’t seen him for a few days. David was usually out with the sheep. Alone. Bored. Probably pretty sick of it.
Maybe you’ve felt like David. I know I have. I kind of do right now. Sometimes we feel like life is moving on all around us but we’re stuck out in no-man’s-land with a bunch of boring sheep. I think David knew he was capable of great things, too. He wouldn’t have walked up to Goliath if he didn’t have any faith in God and his own abilities. And it’s tough to be in spots where you feel like your strengths are not being used. Where no one wants what you have right now. Where your gifts are hidden. Where you’re miles from the action with nothing much to do.
This past week I read Psalm 78 and verses 70-72 stuck out to me so much that I wrote about them in my journal.
He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
I love how the writer connects what David was doing in obscurity to what he ended up doing in greatness. Once a shepherd always a shepherd, I suppose. From the sheep of a pen to the sheep of a nation.
To find a guy like David, God didn’t go picking from the houses of the nobles and most well-known citizens. God had Samuel hunt David down. Because David was worth it. Because David was important enough. Because even if no one, including David, thought he was doing anything that mattered, God did. And he hunted him down.
Maybe you feel like you’re stuck with pointless sheep right now. That is an easy way to feel when you live in America. Mark Batterson says in The Circle Maker, “We live in a culture that overvalues fifteen minutes of fame and undervalues lifelong faithfulness. Maybe we have it backward.” People think you must be doing something wrong if you’re watching the sheep, but if God has you out in the fields then you’re there for a reason, and it matters.
I’m a firm believer that if we are doing what we are suppose to be doing, the right people will find us at the right time. You never know what it just around the corner. We have a God that will hunt us down, no matter how distant we feel. The pieces of our lives that we think are wasting our time could be leading to opportunities we could never see coming. Keep doing what you know to do. Watch the sheep, David.