It’s so easy for me to imagine the scene of our First Reading. I have several sons, too, and they line up in order of age to present themselves—at weddings, and funerals, and in buffet lines. God has sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint the next king. Jesse brings his sons for Samuel’s inspection, proudly lining them up in front of the prophet. He doesn’t even bother to call David in from the field because David is so unlikely a candidate.
God has a way of doing great things with people who seem unimpressive to the rest of us. To Samuel, Eliab has all the makings of a future king, but Samuel listens closely to God in his discernment. One by one, God tells him that each of the likely sons is not the one. God wants David, a young shepherd boy who seems unequal to the task.
Just a few verses before this one, we learned that David was "a man after God's own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14). In the years to come, David, despite his sinful imperfections, will grow to be a great king. God makes a covenant with David and lets him know that that one of his own offspring will sit upon the throne of a kingdom that will be established forever. “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16).
God sizes up an unlikely shepherd boy whom He knows will become a serious sinner and anoints him king in order to make him a strong and mighty link in the lineage of the Messiah. Perhaps He looks at us similarly. We see all the people lined up to do God’s work next to us or perhaps at some distance from us and we think we pale in comparison. But God is not impressed with what impresses us. God has other plans. He brings great work out of unlikely laborers.
Look yourself in the mirror. Do you see the lowly servant standing there? At your baptism, you were anointed priest, prophet, and king. Go out today, with full knowledge that the spirit of the Lord is upon you, and do the work He calls you to do for the Kingdom.
Center yourself with a Rosary today, or pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Be open to the work God has in store for you.
Elizabeth Foss is a wife, the mother of nine, and a grandmother. She finds the cacophony of big family imperfection to be the perfect place to learn to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace. You can learn more about her here.