In 1 Samuel 23 Saul is chasing David all over the country in an attempt to capture and kill him. At first I was reading the passage and passed by most of it pretty quickly. I mean, I had read the story many times and knew it was basically a game of cat and mouse. But then I saw something more to the story. I saw something troubling. I saw something I've seen in myself.
Saul had it all, and honestly much of it wasn't because he earned it, but because God had chosen to use and bless him. But being one of the most powerful and wealthy men in the world wasn't enough for him. When he saw another person receiving praise and blessing, he became jealous, and that jealousy led Saul down a dangerous path. A path to murderous attempts and a distraction from his purpose.
David had fled because he knew Saul wanted to kill him. Now Saul could have left it there and hoped David would stay away. However, that wasn't enough for the king...he wanted David dead. So Saul takes off and instead of being where he should have been, on the throne shepherding the nation. Saul was so misdirected from his purpose that he failed to be responsible for what was his to steward.
Have you ever looked at perhaps a co-worker or someone further along in the journey than you and wanted what they have. And that slight desire turned into jealousy, then hatred or competition. And you got so focused on what they had that wasn't yours that you began neglecting to steward or appreciate what you did have. Well, I have. In my younger years in ministry I would catch myself envious of the promotion and recognition another would receive to the point I'd become discontent with what I did have. It took me years to get beyond that point but I'm so thankful God taught be the patience and reward of His perfect timing.
It may not even be someone else. There are so many already wealthy people who toil for more money. Or people in power clawing for more power. The blessings in life are never enough for them. I think about Solomon who toiled all his life after the riches and desires of this world, and in the end, he says it was meaningless.
Sometimes, instead of focusing on what you and I don't have, focus on what is there. A family...a home...a car...a job...money for entertainment and vacation...friends. Many people lack these and have less, yet have found joy in less.
Saul started out with little in this world and not because he earned or deserved it, God made him one of the most wealthy and powerful men in the world as the king of Israel. He was great with that for a while, but soon he wanted more and began a life of disobedience to God. Then David came into the picture to be a blessing to Saul, but Saul could only see competition and hatred.
What so stood out to me was the misdirection of Saul's purpose in life. As I read about him running all over the place trying to kill David, I wondered who was leading the nation? Saul was purposed at that time to lead Israel and yet he was so consumed with one thing that he lost sight of his responsibility. Saul neglected the wonderful responsibilities he had to pursue an obsession. Oh how I long that the Christian believer would not lose sight of their purpose in order to chase after the one thing they don't have.
My prayer for us today is simple: may we find contentment in what God has given us. I hope I never take my eyes off of my own path and purpose for the wrong thing. I hope I never let an unhealthy desire or thought take hold of my heart. I want whatever God has for me to always be enough.
If you were to take a look at your life closely and honestly, what in your life would be a distraction from your purpose? What steps should be made to eliminate the distraction?