I Samuel 10:1-13:22
I don’t think I’ve ever really considered the fact that when Samuel anointed Saul king of Israel, he was actually passing the torch. Samuel had been Israel’s leader, the most powerful man in the country. No wonder he felt rejected. He kind of was.
God reminded him the bigger picture was that Israel was rejecting God. But for Samuel, I’m sure its looked like – and felt like- they were rejecting him.
So now I’m looking at Samuel as a “lame duck,” a former president, a pastor asked to step down and serve as associate pastor instead. I’m looking at Samuel as someone who has been demoted.
What I notice is his support of Saul. I see him obeying God, even though it might have been hard. What I don’t see is resentment. When the people (who had fired him) asked him to pray for them – he did. He continued to represent God, to teach them right from wrong, and encouraged them to follow God.
I had been a middle school choir director when I got another position within the school district. I remember having to step back and watch someone else step into that position and take the choirs that had been mine.
I can honestly say I wanted her to succeed. I wanted those kids to do well, and develop their abilities and love what they were doing. But I will also confess that there was a tiny part of me, deep inside, that secretly hoped people would think she wasn’t quite as good as me. I have never said that out loud to anyone. Right now I’m ashamed of myself.
I was excited about my new job. It came after years of preparation, and it really wasn’t a demotion. But with this new position, I was demoted from choir director to spectator. I no longer had control over song choice, rehearsals, accompaniment, tempo…
And I struggled with all of that.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had the rug pulled out from under you, but relinquishing power is not easy for most of us. Giving up control might look like a job reassignment, being a step-parent, sharing the responsibilities of teaching a Sunday School class, not being reelected to the deacon board…
How do we handle it when we lose a position of power? I want to be like Samuel. He prayed. He didn’t waiver in his first responsibility – that of serving God. And it seems he continued to serve the people who demoted him.
Can’t God use and bless us wherever we serve Him? Do we always have to have control, power, and position? Maybe an occasional demotion isn’t such a bad thing.