The following is an excerpt from Lisa-Jo Baker’s new study, We Saved You A Seat. Order your copy or see a free sample today at Lifeway.com/WeSavedYouASeat. You can also pick up a copy at your local Lifeway Store!
Comparison is exhausting and self-destructive. The cycle is vicious and viciously effective. And it relies on a lie—the myth of scarcity. Because in Satan’s kingdom, where we each want to be our own gods, there is no room for sharing, there is never enough to go around, and everything must be grabbed and hoarded to make sure we survive.
God’s kingdom is about abundance, about multiplying, about giving with shocking generosity and still having leftovers. It’s about taking the tiny offerings that our insecure hearts are willing to trust to Jesus and watching as He prays, thanks His Father, and then feeds everyone around us, including ourselves, with those small loaves and fish.
Any blessing that shows up in our lives—from the breath that expands our lungs, the blood that runs through our veins, the children who wail in our living rooms, the work that waits at the end of long commutes, or the people who gather around our dining room tables and call us friends—every single one of these is a living picture of God’s generosity to us. Given to bless us. And intended to bless others. Blessings are not for hoarding; they’re for forwarding. Because that is how we reflect God’s glory back to Him.
But being able to see beyond our own sense of entitlement, being willing to surrender what we want for what God wants is not an easy thing. Because if we focus on our own wants we’re vulnerable to missing entirely what it is that God wants for us. Saul spent almost his entire kingship spectacularly failing to focus on anything beyond himself.
But where Saul failed, his son Jonathan lives on in history as probably the most selfless, others-focused friend ever recorded. And the hallmark of Jonathan’s friendship and devotion to David was his relationship to and understanding of God. Even though he had rights to the kingship, he recognized the Lord’s plan to anoint David as king so Jonathan trusted and lifted up David over himself. As the heir to Israel’s throne, he had every right to have his own agenda, but instead, he pursued the Lord’s and befriended David. …
Jonathan actively worked to advance what God was doing in and through David’s life. He was able to ditch the giant chip of entitlement that his father carried everywhere to put his own agenda aside and lift up the one God had placed in front of him. I want so much to be a friend who lifts up others because I see God’s will in their lives. I don’t want to miss that kind of holy assignment.
During David’s darkest days, Jonathan—the man who could have been his chief competitor—was always there to encourage him. David had gone from being the most popular man in the kingdom to having a price put on his head—driven to live like a fugitive, hunted, ambushed, betrayed, forced away from his family and friends and living with the blood on his hands of the slaughter of those who tried to help him along the way (1 Samuel 22:6-19). He couldn’t be sure of anyone; he doubted members of his own family. Saul was on his trail with a ruthless, senseless obsession to exterminate him. He was moving like a hunted rabbit from cave to cave seeking shelter and safety with no guarantee of either.
It’s into this unique and desperate moment that his friend Jonathan risked his own life to bring David encouragement.
“Then Saul’s son Jonathan came to David in Horesh and encouraged him in his faith in God, saying, ‘Don’t be afraid, for my father Saul will never lay a hand on you. You yourself will be king over Israel, and I’ll be your second-in-command. Even my father Saul knows it is true.’ Then the two of them made a covenant in the LORD’s presence. Afterward, David remained in Horesh, while Jonathan went home” (1 Samuel 23:16-18).
In one breath Jonathan affirmed God’s call on David’s life, assured David of his support, and made it clear that his allegiance wasn’t a secret. Even his murderous father would know that Jonathan’s loyalties lay with David.
At what must have been one of David’s lowest moments, Jonathan was there to keep reminding him what God had called Him to do and how he was going to get there. He didn’t take advantage of David’s doubts and despairs to swoop in and snatch up what should have been his. No, where Saul was blinded by his jealousy, Jonathan was guided by His unwavering service to the Lord’s anointed.
Now, if you’re like me, then thinking like Jonathan doesn’t just come naturally to us. Instead, we’re susceptible to thinking, “But why can’t I be the anointed one?” Yes? Have you felt like that before?
But here’s the thing: you are. You actually already are an anointed one. How’s that for a game changer?
God’s Holy Spirit on us is His mark of permanent calling and evidence of His salvation in our lives. We’ve been set apart to do the work He sets before us. We have been anointed to serve in God’s kingdom, here and now, alongside others who have also been anointed and called. And that specifically includes the people in our lives who we’ve been given as friends. We’ve been called to lift up the exhausted arms of the people put in our lives on purpose. We’ve been anointed to serve our friends just as Jesus served His, just like Jonathan served David. So let’s get to it, eh?
Excerpted from Lisa-Jo Baker, We Saved You a Seat © 2017 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.