The Pasture King
The idea of life after college can be pretty scary. Especially when it involves looking for places to live, finding a stable job, and discovering “what’s next” in this convoluted chapter of life. You may be asking yourself: Who do I want to be? In which direction is life taking me? How can I manage my personal and professional lifestyles at the same time? Or better yet…
What is my purpose?
As a young man, King David was in charge of taking care of sheep in pastures while his brothers were away at war. Can you imagine being in his position? During a time of war that most of his family was fighting in, he was left behind to watch over his Father’s sheep. I’m sure he was confused about his purpose during that time.
Let’s observe some ways the pasture actually guided David toward his true purpose.
1. Learn where you are
1 Samuel 16:11 (NIV) So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
Biblical Application: David spent many years tending his father’s sheep and being alone. Little did he know that God had a great destiny for him, although he was unaware of it at the time. David was faithful with the small things. Out of the ambiguities, David developed a passion for worshiping, protecting and leading; developing these qualities lead to his success as King of Israel.
Personal Application: If this section of David’s story can teach us anything, it is that we can learn to be comfortable with the “unknowns” of our life. Whether it’s family circumstances, future careers, plans, and daily nuances, we are only human. However, we tend to gravitate toward actions of control and checking off items on our “lists”. Whether you are a believer or not, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Why strive to control a life that we cannot?
Questions: Do times of ambiguity draw you closer, or farther away from God? Do you still believe you have a purpose even if your circumstances say otherwise?
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” ―Isaiah 26:3
2. Evaluate Your Surroundings
1 Samuel 18:1 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
Biblical Application: Even in the pasture, David was learning how to become a leader. Did you know that sheep have very poor eyesight? So it’s easy to imagine sheep getting lost even when they are close to the Shepard. We can see how the time with his Father’s sheep gave him the necessary tools for leading the nation of Israel. As David gained influence and recognition in the pasture, it transferred over into the kingdom. We can also see how David and Johnathan’s relationship grew throughout the book of Samuel. Johnathan was also a person of great power and influence.
“You can evaluate the direction of your life by assessing the places you go, the people you hang out with, and the books you read.”
Personal Application: Building relationships with people that add value to your life, encourage you, want to see you succeed and aren’t afraid to tell you the truth (in a loving way) is a good place to start. Another great resource is regularly being a part of any type of learning environment that will help you develop (churches, seminars, school, etc.). Reading self-help, leadership, and personal growth books can include valuable materials that aid in your personal growth and purpose potential.
Questions: Are most of the places you go benefiting you? Do you mostly hang around people that lift you up and challenge you? When’s the last time you read a personal growth book? Take a minute to evaluate where you are in these areas, and if any changes need to be made.
“We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.” ―John C. Maxwell ― 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
3. Practice Your Craft
There are two different practices that King David developed in the pasture, which aided him in stepping into his purpose.
The Harp – 1 Samuel 16:18-19 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.” Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”
The Sling – 1 Samuel 17:49 “Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.”
Biblical Application: We can see how the experience of playing the harp helped David gain access to the kingdom. However, it was David’s sling that granted him the opportunity to lead and become Israel’s next king.
Personal Application: Find and perfect (to your best ability) those qualities that make you truly unique. If there is only one thing you take away from this, remember that you were born for a reason. Those gifts that you possess have the potential to establish your success and sow seeds of hope into others even if you don’t see it right now. Learn to cultivate these gifts, because you never know where they will take you!
Questions: What are some gifts/talents/qualities that are unique to you? How can you grow in these areas? How can you use these gifts to benefit others?
“Success is…knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.” ―John C. Maxwell ― 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
Wrap it Up
We must also remember is that living out our purpose never stops completely. Just as we take steps to live out our purpose in practical ways, it is also our purpose to give back and encourage others to grow.
Give back and encourage others to grow.
As we observe King David’s early years, we can observe a few things. First, it’s okay to embrace the unknown parts of our lives, because it allows us to focus on what we can control. Second, taking a hard look at our surroundings could prove to be very beneficial. Third, practicing and using our unique qualities could open doors of opportunity that help us achieve our true purpose down the road.
David’s purpose leads him to the kingdom and the ancestry of a very important man named Jesus Christ. However, it all started in the pasture.
Shameless Music Plug!
The Harp in biblical times created an expression of joy and gladness for the heart when it was played (correctly). Much of this is still true today for modern music. We love music because it speaks directly to our soul in a way that cannot be expressed otherwise. So we connect, listen, sing, dance, and share music that identifies with us as spiritual and emotional beings.
Is this how David was branded with the title as having a “Heart after God’s own Heart”? David was able to openly express his deep love for God through worship and music within the isolation of the pasture.