(July 10, 2020)

“As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore.”
– I Samuel 15:27

When God made Saul King over Israel, Saul was overwhelmed. He was humble, shy, introvert-ed. When the day came for Saul to be recognized, he actually hid among the baggage (I Samuel 10).
Then, Saul was confirmed as King by all Israel in I Samuel 11. Yet, by I Samuel 13 he was re-buked, and told his kingdom would no longer endure. It took just two chapters to gain and then lose a kingdom… that was quick. And then we have the memorable scene of Chapter 15 quoted above.
Today’s point to ponder is this: All ministry is a gift from God. It often begins with a moment of awe or wonder – a moment in which our heart is glad at the goodness of our God. Or perhaps a moment of unworthiness.
And. And there is the temptation that the call will overtake our identity. We will hold fast to a position, a work, a committee seat, or a crown that over time we begin tell ourselves is “ours.” And that is when something changes. The ministry suffers. And we suffer. Where we end up is a far cry from where we began. We hold onto it tightly, as with a clinched hand. And that is when it will be torn away. Just ask Saul.
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The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. We are simply called to have hands that are open toward heaven. So that we are free to receive whatever God has in store, whether it is something old or something new.
The church is changing drastically these days. Now is the time to be open to what God is do-ing. We must let go of what we are tempted to cling to so tightly. Letting go of egos, our wants, “the way it has always been.” … the crucifixion of ministry as it were. Crucifixion always pre-cedes New Life.
When do your hands become clenched?
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Father, may we be open to You. Period. And Amen.