Our reading from Samuel today shows the depths of Saul’s depravity.
Unlike David who later says “I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.” (1 Sam 24:10), Saul wishes to murder anyone who has aided David – even the priests of the Lord. The priests were bemused at Saul’s accusations against them “Who of all your servants is as loyal as David” (v14). Obviously the priests had not been keeping up the royal goings on via Facebook. They were out of the loop. But Saul didn’t care.
When his own men refused his murderous demands, Saul enlists a foreigner to do his dirty work for him.
Clearly Saul has become completely centred on himself and his dynasty. Certainly not deserving of the title “the Lord’s anointed” that David graces him with.
As we look at Thessalonians, we see Paul also urges us to focus on ourselves, but for a completely different purpose!
“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
What are we to focus on? Our daily life and our work. Why so?
In contrast to Saul who was obsessed with the benefits of kingship for himself and his family, we are to focus on the way we live our lives so that it might benefit others.
I recently had a conversation with a Christian friend about a work situation he had with two of his staff. Both were under performing in their work. However one of them was working extra hours to make up for this and ensure he met his commitments. The other simply let the work slide.
Unfortunately the one who put in the extra work was a non-Christian, while the one who let the work slide was a Christian.
I hope that the people you work with know that you are a Christian. But if they do, let’s ensure that we strive to win the respect of our colleagues. Not for our own benefit, but for theirs. Not only so that you can be a productive employee rather than a burden, but by winning the respect of others allowing the door to open to the conversations that Peter urges us to be ready for:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15
For what greater benefit can we be to those we rub shoulders with each day?