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From: stevek
Date: Sun Dec 7 13:11:04 MST 2003 Subject: 2 Samuel 18

Last week I passed by this chapter as a chunk of the chapters 15-19 story. However, during the past few days the community has been sharing some blogs which Eric's commentary on sharing in the sufferings prompted. It occured to me that an event at the end of 2 Samuel 18 related (vv19-33). The battle had just been won by Joab representing king David's army. Now it was time to send word back to the king of the victory. In those days they enlisted guys to run the news - by leg power - from city to city. So Joab selected one of the men who had been a part of the battle, and had also witnessed the murder of Absalom (David's son) to carry the news. However, there was another runner nearby who wanted to run also (I can confess to the addictive draw - beta endorphins didn't just come on the scene this century.) In verse 20, Joab simply tells him that it wasn't his job for that day, he had no knowledge of Absalom to pass on to David, but that he would be chosen on another day. The first guy (a Cushite) was sent off with the news. But the persistent runner (Ahimaaz) wouldn't stop asking to be allowed to run; Joab finally relented and so Ahimaaz took off chasing the Cushite. Evidently Ahimaaz was a pretty competitive guy/or just a better runner than the Cushite/because he passed him and arrived at David first. But when he arrived and David asked him the condition of his son, Ahimaaz didn't have the answer. They had to wait for that information on the Cushite, the one who had been chosen to run in the first place.
So, what's the connection to Eric's blog and our pitching in to serve in the body? I had written that we should all look for ways to serve. But there's more. Even though being available is a good thing, God will call you out to run your own race, in His time. We may even be better at a task than someone else, but that's not the standard by which Jesus selects His workers. If we jump into a job with a competitive drive, to prove ourselves more adept at something than somebody else in the body who is also serving in that role, we don't honor God in that. If we have not been called to a particular work, but are just going through the motions for our own sense of self or the desire to be seen, God is not honored in that. Ahimaaz was available - a good thing - but he hadn't been called on that day for that task. He ran out of pride, to pass the Cushite, get to David first and show that he was better at it than the guy who God was really using. The result was that when he arrived, he had nothing to offer David. He had gone through the motions, but as we often do he was running for his own purposes, not at God's calling.
There is no small task in God's work. We're called to be faithful in whatever God has called us to do. You like the fact that there's coffee ready when you arrive at vespers? Somebody got there earlier and made it. You like the cups, creamers, etc? Somebody put them there. The chairs are all aligned - their own legs didn't do that. Teachers prepare/organizers organize/bookkeepers pay the bills/the bread we share is purchased by somebody taking it upon himself to run that errand. And on, and on. Jesus said that there was plenty of work to go around. He has a work for you within the body - it might be intercessory prayer, or driving somebody to church. The way to find that work is to enter into prayer yourself, seek the mind of Christ first, approach leadership and ask where the needs exist and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit to where you may be being enlisted to ease the burdens of others. My encouragement is to make yourself available (and to make that known), to purify yourself through prayerfully seeking God's call, to be willing to be humble in how you serve; serving with a sacrifical heart, and finally to come to service 'Other-directed', and not to show how or what you may be able to do better than somebody else. I'm convinced by my own attempts/failures that pride is the quickest way to get God to step away from what you're doing and for Him to say to you "wait for another day." We all have giftings. We have them for a reason. King David was a pathetic father, but he was a very good fighter. We each need to find the area for which the Lord has prepared us, and jump into that when it's in His time. Service is a form of worship.

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