David was so famous, we’re still naming our children after him. He was so well known, Jesus talked about him. His name appears more than 900 times in the Bible, making him second only to Jesus!
But in the beginning, David wasn’t famous at all. In fact, he was nearly invisible to his own family!
That’s one of the downsides, perhaps, of being a shepherd.
A shepherd in David’s time could spend entire days without seeing another person. You think social distancing is a new idea? The concept may have been born in a shepherd’s field!
David the future king started out as a prisoner in wide open spaces.
So how did David go from zero to hero? How did he overcome unimaginable odds to become Israel’s greatest king in history? One of his strongest attributes was his positive attitude. That same positive attitude is critically important to all of us now as we battle a pandemic.
David had some strengths as a child, but no more than most children. The Bible speaks of him having a “ruddy,” fine appearance. OK, he was healthy. That figures. He’d been outdoors most of his life.
He also had musical gifts and he wasn’t ashamed to use them. It didn’t matter that the gifts were musical, and not mathematical. He didn’t waste time wishing he was more skilled in science or sports. He simply took what he had an ability to do, and he used it. He had a harp, and plenty of time to play it. Therefore, he made music.
And talk about strengths … David was a hard worker. His family needed him to work hard at a mundane job, so he worked hard. Sheep need a lot of care. While it might not take years of education to qualify for the work, the work never stops. There are no days off for a shepherd.
So add this truth to what David had going for him: He was faithful in a job that required hard work. Even after the young teenager was anointed a future king by a prophet, David remained obedient to his father. He kept watching sheep. He ran the errands expected of the youngest child.
Put all of this together and it’s clear that David had an incredibly positive attitude.
Like you, David didn’t have a choice in his family’s line of work or his family’s reputation. He was born into a shepherding family, which made him a shepherd in waiting before he could even pronounce the word.
With a negative attitude, David could have been bitter about his fate, resigned to suffer through such work or flat-out against it. He could have wasted time feeling sorry for himself.
Instead, he decided to be a good shepherd. He took what life handed him and accepted it with a positive attitude. He never dreamed he would be a king one day. He simply kept working hard at one of the loneliest jobs in the world.
In those shepherd’s fields, God formed David’s heart, mind and attitude. In time, it was easy to look back and see what had happened. David’s years as a lonely shepherd gave him everything he needed to become a great king!
A bad attitude would have stolen that opportunity from David.
A positive attitude made him royalty.
This week, we’re all dealing with a pandemic no one saw coming. Everyone one of us is now dealing with a choice of attitude.
You can be bitter about this crisis, if you like. You can suffer through it. You can feel sorry for yourself.
Or you can try to turn a negative situation into something positive. You’ve been wanting time off to tackle a project at home? Go for it! You’ve been wanting to get to know your children, your spouse or your neighbors better? Here’s your chance! You’ve been looking for ways to serve? Someone in your neighborhood may need you right now.
How you get through this pandemic crisis is up to you. No matter the life situation, attitude is incredibly important.
When David went to the battlefield where Goliath was taunting Saul’s armies, David’s other brothers and the rest of Saul’s army weren’t doing anything! When David asked why no one was fighting the giant, Eliab exploded in anger, insulted his kid brother and stormed away. Led by Saul’s example, everyone in Saul’s army concentrated on what could go wrong in a fight against Goliath.
Little wonder they were all shocked to see a boy taking down the giant later that day!
Brimming with positive attitude, David had lobbied for the job, referring to his skills as a shepherd as to why he’d easily beat a giant. “I’ve killed a lion and a bear,” he told Saul. “What’s the big deal about this guy?” (See 1 Samuel 17:34-37 for the actual transcript of this conversation.)
Why was David willing to risk his life against Goliath? Why was he incredibly courageous in countless situations where he faced dangerous enemies?
The short answer comes back to his faith in God. How did he put it in his most famous song?
Surely your goodness and love will
follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6
Try this attitude on and see if it fits:
“One day, when my life is done, I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever! Yes, I’ll die of something one day. It might even be from this pandemic. But because I know the Lord the way a sheep knows a shepherd, I know he’ll take care of me even then. I’ll still be alive. I’ll be more alive after I die than I am right now! It’ll be incredible!”
If you’re a follower of Jesus, this should be an easy attitude to adopt. More than likely, you’re already there. Knowing you’ll go to heaven when you die creates the ultimate positive attitude!
So while we wait out a pandemic, put on that positive attitude and act like you believe it!