Monday, April 30, 2012
All for One, and One for All!
You can't run out of strength, or hope for that matter, so long as you remember where to find more....
When the bread lady comes to our door in Haiti with that big, beautiful basket of steaming hot bread, I send the boy,
"Go get me 50 gourdes." and off he runs. Moments later he returns, excited, already imagining the taste of that warm goodness in his belly as he forks over the money for the bread.
Getting the money wasn't difficult for him.
It wasn't hardly a thought, and he wasted no time fretting or worrying, wringing his hands. Why? Because my boy knows his Dad always tosses his wallet in the tupperware bowl on the counter on the right. He knows that's where I keep my money. He knows exactly where to find it.
In 1 Samuel 30, when David and his Mighty Men return home from the battle lines, they find that another enemy had ransacked their village, taken their wives, sons and daughters captive, stolen everything but the kitchen sink, and torched the rest. Burned it straight down to the ground.
David's Mighty Men, warriors all, begin wailing, crying out! Can you imagine what you'd be thinking? What are they doing to my wife!? What are they doing to my little girl?!
The terror of your own imagination, unleashed and irrational. It would be crushing, suffocating, to think your boy might be snatched from you. Maybe you didn't say your proper goodbyes. Did you tell them you loved them? Did they know God? Will you ever see them again?
The passage says that they wept until they had no strength left to weep any more. These strong brutes were defeated, empty vessels. His 600 warrior men were so torn they were talking of stoning David to death. Imagine these men, eyeing you with bitter cold in their eyes, picking up great rocks in their hands, ready to take out their futile revenge...
What's this we see? At the end of verse 6 it's there so casually written, a simple matter-of-fact..."But David found strength in the Lord his God."
What did the former Slayer of Goliath, the Fighter of Lions and Bears do?
Did he draw out Goliath's mammoth sword, strapped about his waist! Did he shout out the song he was so famous for, 'Saul's killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands' as the sword rang with a cinema-quality 'sssschhhwwiiiiinnnng'? Did he draw upon himself at all?
He went to the one place where he knew he could find more. He FOUND strength in the Lord his God!
He inquired of the Lord, if he should chase them down, and God told him to go. This beautiful characteristic of David we see! Perfect obedience! He goes!
All of them begin in hot pursuit of the marauders, and yet 200 of his men are so exhausted that they can't go on. Really?
They were tired? Maybe it was something much, much deeper, a matter of the heart.
Have you ever seen a man with no more hope?
All he wants to do is sleep, cuddle up into the fetal position, and shut out the world.
But David continued on with his 400 men and they fought, valiantly. They rescued their families and brought back everything that was taken. They were given great victory over their enemies, over an impossible circumstance.
And when they returned to those hopeless men of fatigue and some of David's men didn't want to share in the plunder, it was this young leader who made the noblest decree, a Kingly decision:
All the soldiers! Those in the front lines, and those in the fox-holes. Those in the fog-of-war, and those bringing up the food wagons in the rear..... yes, my friends.... All for One, and One for All!
So what do we do when we run out of hope and strength?
We go to the Lord for more.
What do we do when our brothers and sisters fall at our feet, parched, because they haven't drank enough of this Living Water?
We fight for them. We bring home the victory. And then...we share a piece of God. We show them where to find more.
The Haitians have a word that I love here. When a Pastor heard that my friend's brother had a brain tumor and needed surgery, there was nothing sapped from him. He didn't droop his shoulders. He did not tuck his tail, or shuffle his feet with his hands in his pockets. There was no Gomer Pyle 'Surprise, Surprise' with crackled voice... He simply shot his fist up into the air, with firm assurance, and this Christian boomed, as a Spartan of old, as a Marine might belt with familiar "Ooh-Rah!" From the pit of his stomach came one word:
It means to be brave....it has a familiar, age-old ring to it..... a 'ssssccchhhhhwwwwwwwiiiiiiinnnnggg' if you may.
It means to take courage! And now I ask you, child of the Most High...in order for you to take it, do you remember where you can find it? Now run along while there's still time, beggar. Go show the other beggars where they can find bread too.