Matthew R. Perry

Baggage Handlers and Warriors Share In The Spoils: How Every Christian Has Value in the Kingdom

In Devotional on November 6, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Our Sunday School classes here at church are going through 1 & 2 Samuel this quarter.  We have had such a blessing getting to know God through this portion of Scripture.

One of the great challenges of pastoral ministry is convincing some Christians of their value and purpose in the Kingdom of God. They look at their weaknesses and magnify them rather than as a result they minimize God’s working in their hearts. They neglect to believe that God has gifted them, even in light of Scripture (1 Corinthians 12:28-31).

In our staff meeting last week, I shared with our staff 1 Samuel 30:16-25:

And when he had taken him down, behold, they were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. [17] And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. [18] David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. [19] Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all. [20] David also captured all the flocks and herds, and the people drove the livestock before him, and said, “This is David’s spoil.”

[21] Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. [22] Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” [23] But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. [24] Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” [25] And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.

Some of the warriors had the strength to pursue the Amalekites after they had captured David’s wives and taken the spoil. Yet, some did not have the strength, so they stayed behind and watched the baggage. Both had a part to play, so both could share in the spoils.

Each of us who are engaged in the Christian battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil (1 John 2:15-17) have varying amounts of strength. But everyone, whether they can go or they can stay, regardless of age or gifting, is able to share in the spoils of God’s Kingdom in Christ.

A New Testament passage which parallels this understanding in Matthew 20:1-16. The master of a house had a vineyard and was in need of workers. He hired some at the beginning of the day, promising a denarius. He hired others at the third hour, sixth hour, ninth hour, then the eleventh hour. At the twelfth hour, when he began paying them for their work, he paid the laborer who only worked an hour a denarius. Those who had worked all day thought they would get 12 times that amount since they worked 12 times as long — but the master gave them what they agreed upon — a denarius as well. Look at the rationale of the master:

But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? [14] Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. [15] Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ [16] So the last will be first, and the first last.”

The perspective is what matters. Do we look at what we feel we should receive, or do we admire the generosity of the master? By God’s grace, we have Christ, regardless of whether He chose to have us work in His vineyard for decades, or just a few months — He is generous and gracious in that regardless of the time, all Christians will have every bit of the Son and His Spirit that we need.

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