Your servant used to keep sheep for his father.1 Samuel 17:34
Weird . . . David was still a shepherd when he said that.
Samuel asked Jesse to gather his sons and present them before him so Samuel could anoint Israel’s next king. David isn’t with his brothers—he’s out tending Jesse’s sheep. Eventually we get to meet David, when he is called, presented to, and anointed by Samuel.
The next time we meet David, he is talking with King Saul about destroying Goliath and says (paraphrased) that he used to be a shepherd.
It strikes me that David views his shepherding as a “back in the day” part of his life. David helps us appreciate that what we do for a living should not define us.
Fast-forward 1,000 years to Jesus
Jesus was 12 years old when his family misplaced him and accidentally left him behind in Jerusalem. Jesus, the apprentice carpenter, thought it should have been understood that he would be about his father’s business.
Fast-forward 2,000 years to us
There really are two realms in which we can reside. And every day we make choices like David and Jesus:
- To be a shepherd (or whatever our job title might be) or be a champion of God—even while we are a shepherd.
- To be about our own business or be about our father’s business.
Who am I today? What will I be about? This isn’t a decision we make once and we’re done—it’s a decision we get to renew everyday.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Paul (the tentmaker) in Philippians 3:13–14