The King Who Never Sought The Position
1 Samuel 9-12
This passage presents an odd sensation. The people demanded a King, but nobody themselves particularly wanted the job. Samuel did not step forward, and perhaps I can understand why. I donít know how many elders were present in the delegation that approached Samuel in 1 Samuel 8:4. But for all that they wanted a King, none of the elders seemed to be presenting themselves as candidates. Normally kings rule Ė it is what they do. And if two people want the job, there is a civil war. Normally people donít go around recruiting someone to be ruled by.
Yet at a somewhat scaled-down level, I can see this scene playing out today in various churches:
Phone: <<Ring>> Pastor: Hello? Mr. Pewwarmer: Hello Pastor, this is John Pewwarmer calling.
Pastor: Great to hear from you, John. How have you been? Iíve missed seeing you Ė ever since I suggested you consider becoming part of the Sunday School program. We really could have used you to go from room to room and collect the attendance books.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Well, Pastor, you know how it is: Busy at this; busy at that. As Mason said to Dixon, we have to draw the line somewhere.
Pastor: You are quite right, John. I do know how it is. And may I say there are lots of people like you who draw that line squarely at the feet of service to their Church.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Oh, good. You saw that coming anyway. I meant to call you about collecting attendance books. But, well, you knowÖ.busy busy.
Pastor: No problem John. Now, how can I be a blessing to you today?
Mr. Pewwarmer: You know, Pastor, I was thinking. My daughter has been attending your Church for eight years now, and she doesnít know anything about the Bible by memory.
Pastor: The attendance books say she has been here five times during that eight years.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Yeah, Pastor, thatís my point. If sheís not going to be memorizing, then itís really not worth getting her out of bed on Sundays to come.
Pastor: I donít understand.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Well take me for instance. I know the Bible says itís wrong to brag on yourself. But when I was her age, I had about 300 Palms memorized Ė and memorized to the teeth. I still havenít forgotten even one of them, even to this day.
Pastor: Well John, I just think thatís just wonderful. Can I hear one of them now.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Well, Pastor, you have to understand that was a long time Ė a very long time ago.
Pastor: Of course.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Pastor, Iíve been thinking a lot about the Church. And I think I have the answer to why we arenít filling the place up every Sunday morning.
Pastor: Go on. Iím very interested.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Your Church doesnít have a Bible memory program. And if the people donít know those Palms by memory, no one is going to want to come.
Pastor: I agree, John. We should be doing better in that area. For awhile, we did have an AWANA chapter that met here on Wednesday nights.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Exactly, Pastor. Why donít we still have that? Did I ever tell you I once memorized an AWANA chapter?
Pastor: That must have been quite a task. But Iím afraid the AWANA club that used to meet here had to be dismantled when Mr. and Mrs. Commander accepted Godís call to the mission field. We did recruit a replacement, but he turned us down. Something about being busy. He said he had a Mason-Dixon line he had to draw.
Mr. Pewwarmer: That man should be kicked out of the Church!
Pastor: It was you, John.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Oh yeah, now I remember. Yeah. Well, I was doing what the top theologians call ďbackslidingĒ at the time. Have you ever heard of ďbacksliding,Ē Pastor? Iím sorry if this is an advanced theology topic.
Pastor: I have indeed.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Good. Anyway, I was backsliding when you asked me to do AWANA. And that was when God punished me by taking all the Palms out of my head. And that was why I couldnít do it then.
Pastor: John, I think your idea for Bible memory is a great idea. The AWANA job is still open if you are interested.
Mr. Pewwarmer: That sounds perfect, Pastor. But you know me. Busy all the time. I was thinking one of your Deacons could do it. Theyíre not very busy. I mean how much time does it take to serve those itty bitty pieces of stale bread to everyone in the Church once a month?
Pastor: They do other things, John.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Iím sure they do. Yeah, the drinks too. Anyway itís their job to run a church. Surely they can make people memorize some Palms.
Pastor: They do it without pay, John. They have other jobs they get paid for.
Mr. Pewwarmer: Well Iím too busy to do it.
Pastor: John, itís really just as well. You seem unaware that we had to close the Church doors last month. We had over a hundred suggestions on how to improve the Church ministry. But nobody was available to place any of the improvements in motion.
It was like in the days of 1 Samuel 9-12. Israel demanded that there be a King. But nobody wanted to be King. They just assumed someone else would do it. So as a result, Israel got stuck with Saul as their King. If David hadnít later stepped forward to fight Goliath, Israel might have had to close their doors too.
© 2012, On Beyond Sunday School, All Rights Reserved.