1 Samuel 12:1‐13:22; John 7:1‐29; Psalm 108:1‐13; Proverbs 15:4
God’s Work, God’s Way
We have become accustomed to the notion that “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” I have learned, however, that if you plan on using a new cat-skinning technique, you’d better be very clear what you are actually trying to accomplish. That’s where Saul messed up. I don’t think this is a lesson about the priesthood. It is a lesson about doing God’s work, God’s way.
It seems that Saul thought, “I need to go to war to push the Philistines back and my soldiers are getting restless. If I’m going to win the war we need the appropriate sacrifices, and fast. Samuel is not here. Plus, maybe the people will be more committed to me if they see me as priest as well as king.” But he missed the point.
Saul thought it was about the politics of kingship and the rituals of war. Not so in God’s eyes. For God, the purpose (as it ALWAYS is) was to learn obedience and patience, and to trust the outcome to God. In that lesson, Saul failed utterly.
In whatever task God lays before us, to sweep the floor, be a parent, serve as a lay reader, provide pastoral care, or something else, the first priority is always to serve according in God ways. That does not mean that we will never have new ways to go at these ministries, but it does mean that our first priority is always obedience, not our own agenda.
The Rev. Eric Turner