Monday, July 1, 2013

Despicable People

 “Can you see the one the Lord has chosen?” Samuel asked all the people. “He has no equal among the people.” But some despicable people said, “How can this man save us?” They despised Saul and didn’t bring him gifts, but Saul didn’t say anything.                                                                                                                  1 Samuel 10:24, 27

The ones who failed to trust God in the selection of Saul as king are called despicable. Their doubt, their inability to see God at work, their lack of faith that God could work in and through Saul earned them a rather harsh assessment.

Yet in our culture, and sadly, even in the church, we would hold such people up as shrewd, careful and reasonable. We admire those who won’t be “duped” by “fanciful” notions of faith, such as trusting God to provide and direct, who won’t be “gullible” enough to be amazed at the way God can work in and through people. We don’t believe God can change people, that God’s nature is more powerful than human nature, or that people can really be reborn in Christ.

A friend of ours recently returned from a mission trip to Uganda, where one of his tasks was to distribute reading glasses. A girl who needed glasses to be able to continue her education came to get a pair. The team had collected glasses in certain strengths, the strongest of which did not help the girl. That morning, our friend had found an odd pair of glasses in a strength they had not collected for their trip. He laid it aside, but when this girl came, she tried the glasses and could see. Our friend had no explanation other than God, because the glasses had not been in their collection the day before, and they had carefully cataloged what they took prior to leaving the States.

Why can God only act in miraculous ways in Africa, or in a hospital or among the poor, and not in a church budget committee meeting? Why do we not believe that God can provide the resources we need in our first world, upper middle class churches to do God’s work? Why do we, the members of these churches, cling so tightly to what God has given us, as if it is all we can expect to receive from God? Why do we worship the idols of scarcity and fear and rationalism instead of the God of abundance and peace and joy? Scripture has a word for us: despicable.

All powerful God, who created all, have mercy on us for being despicable people who doubt your ability to act, who fail to worship you, who think we know better than to trust in your provision. Rend our hearts and minds, smash the idols we elevate as greater than you, strip away anything that we trust other than you. As we stand empty and shaken before you, fill us with your joy, your peace and utter trust in you, that we may be forever changed from despicable to disciples. Amen.

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