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David’s Harp and my 10th Grade English Assignment

One of the servants responded, “I know that one of Jesse’s sons from Bethlehem is a good musician. He’s a strong man and heroic, a warrior who speaks well and is good-looking too. The Lord is with him.” – 1 Samuel 16:18 (CEB).

It was tenth grade at Boyd-Buchanan School in Chattanooga, Tennessee in English class. Having transferred the previous year from public school to now private school I had to make friends all over again. The previous year was my first year in Chattanooga having lived in Marietta, Georgia for twelve years before that and so needless to say the transition was not going well. My freshman year in the public school I was zoned for just did not go well and so my parents found this private school that some of the kids in the neighborhood attended and my brother and I was accepted (by the grace of God) and we started in the Fall of 1996.

Back to English class.

One of my first assignments was a paper I had to write about a significant event in my life. That was easy. I wrote about my move from Marietta to Chattanooga but I also told about some relationships I had that turned sour from the move. My heart was broken and so I shared about it. I am not sure if the teacher required this or asked me based on the paper but I had to present my paper in class.

Bummer.

To my knowledge up to that point I had never spoken in front of an audience for an extended period of time. My knees shook, I had a bit of nausea and, to give you a bit of TMI, I probably battled diarrhea all morning long. Nevertheless, I got up and spoke balancing reading my paper and looking at my audience. I became more nervous because they actually laughed and were engaged in my story the whole time. I tempered my nervousness with some jokes and ended the speech with some laughs but mostly acceptance. They seemed to enjoy my rendering of relational heartbreak and life altering moves so much so that throughout the day a random group of girls would come up and say, “Tell the story again Robbie.” So I would.

I learned something that day. I had a gift of speaking. What I did not know was how God was going to craft that gift to use it years down the road for His glory.

Back to the verse way up at the top. Saul was rejected as King because of some very poor choices he made during his reign. Samuel summed it up best, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel” (1 Sam. 15:26; NRSV). Later we learn that the rejection of Saul by the Lord was also accompanied by an “evil spirit” that wreaked havoc on him (16:14). The only thing that could help Saul was this little Bethlehemite named David (already chosen and anointed as King unbeknownst to Saul[16:1-13]) who could play the “lyre” that would eventually relieve Saul and make him feel better (16:23).

A lyre was an instrument used in ancient times that was much like a harp (see picture). It probably took years to master the skill of playing this instrument. You could make the argument that David probably was also the one who fabricated the instrument with his own hands. The point I make with this verse and my story is simple:

God will use the gifts we are blessed with in the present, to give Him glory in the future. Click To Tweet

I had zero inclination that God was going to use my public speaking skills to speak in front of crowds as big as two thousand but continually speak weekly to a couple dozen. Some have the gift of art and wonder how God is going to use that but then they are able to design cool t-shirts for youth groups and amazing graphic design for PowerPoint slides. Some have the gift of listening and God uses that gift to help you to become a counselor and you end up helping so many save their marriages.

One thing on giftedness: Giftedness does not guarantee God’s blessing. How many of you have seen prodigy athletes waste their gift by turning to drugs, violence or just plain laziness? Our gifts require hard work, dedication, accountability, ongoing tweaking, humility and undeterred patience.

What are my gifts? Lifeway did a “Spiritual Gifts Assessment” which you can view and print at your home. It is not 100% fool proof but will give you an idea. Download it by clicking here. My prayer is that you will mold what God has blessed you with so that you can be ready when he calls you further down the road.

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