Beans and Blessings

//Beans and Blessings

Beans and Blessings

“Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory.”
–2 Samuel 23:11-12 (NIV)
At first glance, these verses might not seem to say much, but I think they’re actually some of the most important verses in this chapter. So let’s take a closer look at them, because they are all about your life and mine.
Here we see David’s mighty men, who have been chosen to accomplish heroic feats. Then there is Shammah, who is left behind to guard the beans. The contrast here is amazing. In order to see it clearly, let’s fast-forward into the 21st century.
“I really wanted that job promotion!” you might say one day. “That other person might be dressed in a fancy three-piece suit, but he doesn’t have the qualifications that I do.”
Or, maybe you have been let go from a position where you were trying to do your best. Because of that, you’re filled with disapointment and anger. That was me in both cases, and I was an emotional mess each time.
I was once employed at a vocational school for quite some time. I worked hard there–except when I didn’t, but we won’t go into that now. I wasn’t the only one who was let go, but when I asked why that happened, I was told that they had just upgraded their computer equipment, so I was no longer needed. As it turned out, a person who had just waltzed in took my place.
Needless to say, I was anything but happy with God, and I let my feelings and anxieties take over. But what He taught me through that situation has enriched my Christian life.
The same goes for my second story. This, too, was a case when I failed to see that God was in control. This time I was hired on as a temp, and I worked by shuffling papers for a while. Let me tell you–that has to be in the running for one of the most boring jobs of all time. Then I was transferred to packing, and I found this to be more up my alley. At least I wasn’t sitting behind a desk all day, and I made some new friends.
I thought I might have a chance of staying there until–you guessed it–one day the axe was lowered. According to the manager, I didn’t do my job quickly enough. It seemed that speed was more important than conscientiousness. I was given about 5 minutes to get my things together, and I wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to anyone.
Again, I was angry, thinking about how nice the manager had been when my help was actually needed. “God,” I cried out, “what are you doing?” In retrospect, I believe that He once again used this situation in my life, even though I certainly didn’t think so at the time.
I won’t lie and say that things improved overnight, because they sure didn’t. But eventually, I found my way to the hospital, where I am now a chaplain. I had to go through a long period of training, but during that time God became more real to me. While I will be the first to admit that the other two jobs were more financially rewarding, God has always met my needs, whether they are financial or physical.
I’m guessing that Shammah didn’t always feel like guarding those beans, but the point is that he guarded them faithfully. Faithfulness can be like climbing a mountain, but if you are like me, it would seem that we take one step forward in life, only to take two steps back. So let’s look at some lessons in mountain climbing, with Shammah as our instructor.
Believing he didn’t act on his feelings makes me feel better. To be honest, sometimes I really don’t feel like going to the hospital. Like the disciples, who asked the Lord if they could sit on His right and left hand, I’m afraid I often think only in terms of power and sensationalism. I have to remind myself that while God has put some people on the front lines, like David’s mighty men, I need to count it an honor to guard the beans.
Are you the same way? When it comes to serving God on the mountain of faithfulness, is our real motivation allowing our lives to point to the King, or only to self-aggrandizement?
That is between you and God, but in order to find the answer, you will have to ask a similar question. You know as well as I do that all the motivational techniques in the world won’t do any good without action. But this is essential, because the Bible says that we are in a war.
As we enter week 2 of Shammah’s mountain-climbing class, please look at the title on your syllabus. I have called it “THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION”, because when it came to guarding King David’s beans, I suspect that Shammah had to give himself a pep talk. David’s men had been poor and in debt, and Shammah must have had to remind himself of all the wonderful things the king did when promoting him to that office. In the same way, we need to prepare ourselves by thinking about how far God has taken us.
Since mountain climbing can get rough, we will need to face life’s boulders, with God walking beside and within us. But too often, we don’t keep our eyes on the trail. Instead, we look at others and gasp in awe, “Check out the size of that person’s ministry!” Or we might say, “Isn’t she a wonderful speaker?”
Although Shammah was surrounded by awesome men, he didn’t focus too much on what they were doing. His secret, if you want to call it that, was concentration. The king had asked him to do a job, and Shammah was determined to do his very best.
In the same way, the King of the universe has assigned tasks to each of us. While some people may be in the limelight or on the front lines, other people are in the background, like Shammah. They may seem mundane until we remind ourselves, just as he did, that we serve the King of the universe.
Shammah was only able to live a life like this and keep his emotions in check because he not only heard, but obeyed. Like him, you and I can live a life of rest in God by listening for His voice, and obeying His wise guidance.
One of Jesus’ favorite sayings was, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus told us that His words are life, and in order to avoid the pitfalls of Satan, we need to take God’s Word to heart.
But we can only do this by concentrating on what God is saying, within our particular circumstances. We may hear what the Bible says intelectually, without really internalizing or listening to its message.
Just as David elevated his men, God wants to bless us and raise us up. He wants us to become more and more like Him. Shamma was able to follow through, because his act of intense listening to God’s Word led him to obedience. Although the task may not have been to his liking, the King’s Word was uppermost in his mind.
We also need to keep God’s Word uppermost in our minds throughout the day. Instead of beans, we usually find ourselves dealing with bills these days. Trying to continually meditate on the King’s Word will bring you new strength during tough situations.
Lastly, just as communication can prevent death and disaster on a hike, we can avoid much of life’s pain by communicating with God. Paul put it this way: “pray without ceasing.” This does not mean scooting around on your knees, constantly in prayer no matter what. Instead, we are called to be in an attitude which The Bible calls singleness of heart.
Motivate yourself through encouraging scripture, and prepare by reminding yourself of His faithfulness. Concentrate on what God is saying to you, and talk to Him about everything you face. Like Shamma, leave the battles you face with Him. Look at your blessings instead of life’s beans, and take God with you as you climb the many mountains of life.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6499. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.

By | 2019-03-31T01:39:56+00:00 March 31st, 2019|Faith and Inspiration|0 Comments

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