Between the Phone and the Door Bell

Between the Phone and the Door Bell

Let me tell you a Bible secret. David, the shepherd-boy, was deprived! Poor kid! How do I know? He didn’t have a cell phone, Ipod, Iphone or Blackberry. He never texted while driving sheep (though there was no law against it in Israel). He never Twittered or Tweeted. ‘Had neither Youtube nor Facebook to pass the time. He just tended the sheep. And looked with longing t’ward the brow of the hill. He was hopin’ somebody’d be comin’ soon with a message or a morsel from home. He waited… to be wanted. HOLD THAT THOUGHT.

Nowadays there’s Max. ‘Or Maxine. Ken or Kim, Dave or Diane, ‘doesn’t matter. ‘Like David, off by him/herself. ‘Apart from the family, just down the stairs or the hall, waiting for the phone to ring. You see, the big wait is to get the call from the coach. You’ve made the team. You’ve been picked. You’re in the in-group. One way or time or other, if we’re past pre-school, we’ve all had this experience. Like preacher Max Lucado, I remember mine vividly. I’m 8. ‘Ball glove on my hand, tossin' a tape-ball into that leather pocket, prayin’ for the phone to ring. (That’s all phones did, by the way). Little league! That was the prize. Only, the phone never rang that night. Or the next. I still remember. Do you? (Or maybe you still dread the thought, for yourself or someone you love. For this week or next.) Maybe the worst of all calls is the-call-that-never-comes, waiting to be wanted. It’s a giant, a demon, a danger to our souls.

Remember last week? We talked about confronting our giants. David and Goliath. Jesus and his doubters. We learned to look more to God and less at our Goliaths. From David, we learned to face our giants, not run/hide from them. Our God-thoughts need to out-number our giant-thoughts, 4-1… no matter what giants are the first things we think of in the morning, or the last at night. Oh, Jesus taught us: there’s no giant in our pockets bigger than the God in our hearts. That’s the image we need. Let Caesar have his due, and his picture on the money. We’ve got the God of Heaven on earth, and his image on our hearts in Jesus Christ. SOo… what can we say when our giant is a silent phone and a sinking sense that we don’t count? Look at David. Listen to Jesus.

David’s case shows us how the Good Lord knows us. God doesn’t see the same way we do. So maybe we oughta learn and practice seein’ the way God does. And God always begins with a heart-start. Old Samuel, the priest of Heaven says, “The Lord sees not as we see… on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” The heart. The heart. Here’s the story. And it’s a mighty big help when “the phone don’t ring.” … Samuel’s the priest who provided a King when Israel insisted on Royalty. He anoints Saul. Only Saul goes sour. So Sam searches for a new King. (Which, by the way, is pretty awkward with the old one breathin’ down your neck.) Fr. Sam’s directed to go to Jesse, who has eight sons, 7 at the farmhouse, and David-in-the-dell, the outback, the South 40! Proud papa Jesse parades the boys before Saul. You know these folks, by the way, ‘compete with them, many a day. Eliab, the eldest, pop’s pride-&-joy. Surely he’s our man. Tall, dark, handsome. Wavy hair, 6 pack abs, piano key teeth. Saul’s impressed. God says no. Abinadab’s next. The GQ guy with the MBA. (If you’re 45, you just hate this guy. ‘Get’s the job you’ve been workin’ for 20 years. The young know-it-all.) God says no. Shammah’s next. The pale one. The book worm, (Jesse brags to Samuel, “Valedictorian of Bethlehem High.”) Had he been Sharon instead, he would have been the annoying kid who always remembered to say, “Cap-i-tal”, during the spelling bee. You know the type. Ugh! And so it goes through all 7 elders. Each time, God tells Samuel, “No.” Jesse says, “We’re done.” Fr. Sam asks, “Isn’t there one last one?” “Naa,” thinks Jesse. “Only David,” he replies. “The runt.” The haqqaton, in Hebrew. The lowest, last, least. The one who belongs in right field, in Little Leagueeze… where nobody ever hits the ball. ‘No harm can be done. ‘Where it’s OK to pluck your harp, not pound your glove; sing a poem instead of size-up the competition. Nobody would pick David. That’s why he is where he is in the first place. The boy without bling, the girl, if you will, even Glamour Shots can’t help! If David had been a dot on the map, he’d have been so inconsequential, no GPS could have locked on and located him. (Who here hasn’t sometimes felt like that?) Get this. David gets picked. God says yes. David gets to sing, “Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.” God sees a different David! 66 Bible chapters worth. (Only Jesus gets more.) Pasture to palace! That’s David’s story. Is it yours? …½ maybe.

We’ve not gotten to the palace yet, but too many have walked the pasture of exclusion. (ML) ‘Seen only by outward appearance. ‘Measured by our waist, not our wonders. ‘By house-size, not soul-wise; color, not character; diploma-count not dedication; age not ability; clothes, not capacity for love and for life. I could go on and on. Aren’t you tired of this? God was. God is! ‘Because God sees differently than we, he hurls a rock himself at the Goliath of Exclusion, the Leviathan of Left-out… by picking DAVID… the haqqaton… and declaring him… a palace prince of heaven. Well… get this. And tell everybody you know all about it. God is prepared to do exactly this for me and you and you. In David, God sees a heart out for his own heart! What does God see in your heart? Here’s the thing… When God sees a heart-set-on-him, he claims it, embraces it, seizes it, calls it and takes it for his own! For all his weaknesses and wobbling, that’s exactly what God saw in David that maybe nobody else did or does. (ML) So what is it that God sees in your heart? Are you ready, are you willing for what God is ready to see in you? And do with you & through you? Here’s the palace God raises in the pasture. Ready. Just waiting!

If you doubt me, just ask Zacchaeus. You remember, the wee little guy in the sycamore tree. ‘Not just short. Little. A tax collector! Spiritually little. Morally. Socially. So it appears. But not to God. Not to Jesus. He has a heart-burning to see Jesus, ‘see who Jesus really is! So Jesus calls him, just like God did David long before. Jesus eats at his house. Jesus- the-guest becomes Jesus-the-host. The provider of a feast of faith and new life. The proof? Zach’s a new man, a new soul! A haqqaton turned holy. Declares Zacchaeus, “Lord, half my goods I give to the poor; and any I’ve defrauded, I’ll restore fourfold.” Jesus just beams. “Today salvation has come to this house. Zacchaeus is restored to the Beloved Community, once more a son of Abraham.” Why? “Because the Son of man came to seek and save the lost.” Praise Jesus… who brings what the Father has always made ready. A place. A palace. A spot on the roster of Team Redemption!

By the way. Remember that kid’s story… waiting by the phone? 2 nights later the door bell rings. It’s the coach. ‘Seems he thought the assistant had called. Of course there’s a place on the team for a kid with such a heart for the game. And by season’s end, that kid is an All Star! Imagine that! And all because on the in-between night, a certain father called the coach with a special request… unknown to that 8 year old first baseman for 30 years. But then, fathers are like that. ‘Coaches too. Thanks, dad. Thanks, Coach Buddo. Thank you, Jesus. Thank God… and get yourself a heart for the game. And God will surely see and claim it!

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