Expected Reading Time: 6 minutes
There’s a good chance you’ve heard the story of David & Goliath. David, a young boy, saw a giant taunting his brothers and the Israelite army. Nobody stood up to him so David took matters into his own hands. He picked out five smooth stones from a nearby river and slung one at Goliath, knocking him square in the head. The little guy defeated the big guy! Wham, bam, he’s a dead man! It’s a true underdog story. How inspiring!
Quite often we use this story as a motivation to fight tyranny, work hard when success isn’t guaranteed and even to slay the giants in our lives. Here’s one example of the way we use the story:
You’re David, and your Goliath is financial insecurity. The five stones are saving, budgeting, investing, paying off debt and being charitable! Boom, you just killed the Goliath of financial struggle! Your mom called, she’s so proud!
There’s something wrong with this version of the story, though. We assume we’re David, but we aren’t. You aren’t David and Goliath isn’t some problem to be solved. We do have a part in this story, but it’s not the one you thought.
You aren’t David and Goliath isn’t some problem to be solved.
Travel back with me as we find it. In case you forgot, Goliath was gigantic! So big, in fact, we use his name as an adjective! Our part of the story, as told by Samuel:
And the Philistine (Goliath) said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and greatly afraid.
– 1 Samuel 17:10-11
Did you catch our part? We’re the ones in the back who were dismayed and greatly afraid. Which of you would have had the audacity to take a stand against Goliath? David is thought to have been about 15 years old when he killed the Philistine giant. My mind was elsewhere when I was 15. At that age, I was God’s gift to women, or so I thought. I certainly would not have done what David did. No offense, but I suspect you wouldn’t have either.
After David killed Goliath we show back up. The Israelite army finally gained the courage after seeing David’s valor and chased down, killing the remaining Philistines. Once they saw the courage of David, they gained some for themselves. And so it is with us.
They weren’t the one who did the brunt of the work, David was. Likewise, we aren’t the ones who did anything of value in God’s Kingdom, Jesus did. But that’s alright, it’s the life of a Christian. Jesus did everything for us. Sure, we get to clean up a few messes (arguably less than we make ourselves). The greatest work ever done was completed for us on the cross of Christ. Jesus did what we were unwilling and unable to do the day he defeated death just as David did what every other Israelite soldier was unwilling (though able) to do.
The greatest work ever done was completed for us on the cross of Christ.
We’re not David, but we do have a part to play. While standing in the back, afraid, isn’t as sexy as being the hero, it sure beats being Goliath.