"Let not your majesty sin against his servant David, for he has committed no offense against you, but has helped you very much by his deeds.” -1 Samuel 19:4
The reading today is a story of jealousy. When David and Saul return home from slaying the Philistine, many people gather outside to sing their praises:
“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” -1 Samuel 18:7
When Saul hears this cheer, he is outraged by what the crowd is saying. Why was he only given “thousands” while David was given “ten thousands” to his name? This leads to Saul plotting to kill David.
Such a powerful and relatable message can be found in this story from an often distant Old Testament. Not only do we see the evils of jealousy, but also the importance of gaining perspective. How often is it that we get so worked up about the most miniscule things in life? For me, unfortunately, I feel that this happens quite often. Maybe it’s someone studying less than me but getting a better grade in a class. Maybe it’s the newest iPhone that everyone seems to be getting, but I don’t have. Especially coming off of the holiday season, many of us may find ourselves having similar, negative musings about others. I’ll catch myself getting so entrenched in these little internal scuffles that it can even lead to a dehumanization of sorts. A mindset that makes me disregard my values and the people around me.
I think we are all called to step back, and gain a semblance of the perspective Jesus had in this world. It was a perspective that cared so little about material possessions or personal status; rather, it was a perspective that allowed him to stand firm in a position which touched and developed the lives of those around him. God has given us the gift to make substantial differences in other people’s lives, so why get bogged down with little things that cause us to lose that ability?
“The reality of life is that your perceptions — right or wrong — influence everything else you do. When you get a proper perspective of your perceptions, you may be surprised how many other things fall into place.” ~ Roger Birkman
Like Saul, we are only human, and often it takes something as little as a “thousand” instead of a “ten thousand” to set us off. In this new year, please help us to model our life perspectives around that of Jesus’ because not only will we become closer to you, but also closer to the people around us.