Like most of you, I’m a sucker for a good “Cinderella Story”. I get inspired by them, and joyfully (and tearfully) walk away after hearing these stories resolving to be a better me.
The Bible is full of Cinderella stories– storylines that start off with seemingly insignificant characters who end up doing extraordinary things for the Lord. How did they do it? The lead characters of these tales all had one thing in common: a determination to honor God in everything that they did.
The story of David is one of these accounts. Instead of a glass slipper, the prophet Samuel comes to David’s father, Jesse, with a horn full of oil, and instructions from God to anoint the next king.
In 1st Samuel chapter 16, the sons of Jesse were brought before Samuel one by one, like the wicked step-sisters. In this story the brothers all passed by, and none of them “fit the slipper.” So then the prophet asked Jesse, “Are these all of your sons?” And Jesse said, “No, there is one other – the youngest. But he’s out tending the sheep.” Samuel then commands Jesse to bring David. When David came, God revealed to Samuel that David was the one. And he took the horn of oil, and anointed David as king – and they all lived happily ever after. Just kidding! Clearly David went through a lot of heartache and difficulties before the happily ever after part of the story, but eventually, he became the greatest king in the history of Israel.
It’s the classic Cinderella story, and it’s not the only one! The Bible is full of them. Most of the people God called for great things were not great people – not by the world’s standards, anyway. The people that God chose were men and women, young and old, and sick and healthy. They had different personalities and came from all different career paths and education levels. What that means is, none of us are excluded from God’s service. In fact, as Paul tells us, whatever we do for God in our lives is not by our power anyway. It’s by God’s power! (2 Corinthians 4:7)
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose what the world thinks is unimportant and what the world looks down on and thinks is nothing in order to destroy what the world thinks is important.
I Corinthians 1:27-28
David didn’t ask God to make him king, but he didn’t refuse it, either. Actually we don’t hear anything from him at all in this passage. We just know from the context that David was willing. Because of that, not only was David anointed by the prophet, but it says, “The spirit of God came upon him mightily.” When we are willing to follow God, His spirit will move in us mightily. He will give us courage when we are afraid, strength when we are weak and everything else we need to fulfill His plan.
Many of God’s servants throughout the Bible weren’t enthusiastic to answer when God called them. Think of them – Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah- so many of the great heroes of the Bible were hesitant to answer the call. So if we’ve been resisting God’s tug on our hearts to do something for Him, we’re not alone!
I know for myself, I grew up always asking the Lord to bless whatever I wanted to do, but had a hard time asking the Lord to teach me how to follow what He wanted me to do. I was afraid of giving up control. Afraid that if I agreed to do whatever God wanted me to do; I would end up being unhappy and rejected by everyone. Slowly I’m learning to let go and let God. I can testify that in every area of my life where I’ve been able to surrender control, I’ve been filled with joy and peace. These days when I wake up in the morning, I ask God to guide each step, each word and each thought for the day. Every day I have moments where I have to stop and remind myself to surrender my own desires to the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to take control.
David was willing to do that. He didn’t always get it right. Sometimes he blew it – just like we do, but when he did, he repented and asked for God’s forgiveness. The Bible tells us that God called David a man after his own heart. That is the key to all of this – the heart.
You guys, God isn’t looking for great people. He chooses ordinary people and uses them for greatness. “People after God’s own heart” are people who make Him the very desire of their hearts.
Take courage that most of the “heroes of faith” not only had small beginnings, some of them had terrible beginnings – beginnings that might have easily discouraged the faint-hearted. But they also possessed a passion to answer God’s call. If we could go back in time and be a fly on the wall, we’d see their fears and insecurities. After all, they were only human, but we’d also witness that each stayed on a steady course, with their eyes firmly fixed on the Lord.
Moses was a murderer, Abraham a liar, David an adulterer, and Noah a drunk. Check out the lineage of Jesus Christ. It illustrates that God can and will use anyone to accomplish His purpose, no matter how imperfect that person is. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done in your life, no matter how imperfect you think you are – God can and will use you to accomplish His great eternal purpose if only you are willing to honor God in all that you do. Your Cinderella story was written long ago, even before God created the heavens and the earth in Genesis chapter 1.
The beginning of your life doesn’t dictate the ending when God is writing your plot. Maybe you’ve been living until today trying to impress people instead of God, or maybe you’ve been struggling with sin in your life. Maybe you’re so far away from the Lord that you feel spiritually dead and unable to do anything for Him. The truth is that the moment that you turn back to the Lord, He is willing to forgive you and welcome you back with open arms.
And even if your beginning was small, your end will be very great.