Steven Furtick - What To Do When God Opens A Door
I think a lot of us miss our turn to be used by God because of disappointment in our life, setbacks we've experienced. On the other side of disappointment, often we can see that our disappointments led us to our destiny. Some of the things we thought we wanted were the things God had to withhold to make room for the things we ultimately needed. It is easier to clap about that when you're not living through it. Have you ever noticed how the way we explain something after the event has transpired is often much different than how we experienced it? We say after we've experienced something, "Well, it all turned out for the good," but you weren't so sure about that while it was happening.
You weren't so sure about that during the divorce, but now after the divorce you can say, "I didn't want the divorce, and I'm not saying the divorce was God's will, but I can see how God is even using that now in my life". When you're going through it, it feels like death, and you can't even see any life after this. You can't see how the fact that they laid you off from that job was actually preparing you for something, teaching you some things, going to get you some discipline in some areas. Later on, a door would open up that God would use to move you into new dimensions, but you can't see the destiny in the face of the disappointment.
David is an illustration of how to deal with disappointment, I believe. David was more than just a shepherd, more than just a giant killer. He was a future king in training. I know many of you know this, but for the benefit of those who may not have gotten to go to vacation Bible school, let me share a little bit of the context of 1 Samuel 16. On the day Samuel came to town to replace Saul… The Lord was grieved that he made Saul king, because although Saul had the stature of a king, he didn't have the heart of a shepherd. God, give us shepherds even in our nation, in political seats of power, who will have a heart for your people. Give us pastors and fathers and leaders who will have a heart for your people. So God said, "I'm looking for a man after my own heart".
Well, when Samuel came to town with his horn of oil, which was symbolically poured on the head of the next king, he went to Jesse's house, because that's where God told him to go. He said the next king is in Jesse's house, but he didn't tell him which of Jesse's eight sons was going to be the king. Sometimes God will give you enough of the details to get you in the right area, but he won't give you enough specifics where you don't need him to show you what to do next. Sometimes we want God to show us everything about our lives and our decisions, but if he did we wouldn't need him. So he gives us enough light to know the next step, but not enough light where we won't need him to guide us along the path.
So Samuel the prophet goes to Jesse's house and looks at all the sons of Jesse. Eliab was the oldest one. One's name was Shammah. All these boys were so impressive. Eliab was very tall. Saul was tall. God said, "Not him, and not him, and not him, and not him, and not him, and not him". I love this about God. He selects what man rejects. He uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise. After they passed over all seven of the select sons, Samuel says, "Do you have another one"? When Jesse talks about David, he doesn't even have the common courtesy to mention his name. Do you know what he calls him? I want to read this to you. It's in chapter 16, verse 11. Jesse said, "Well, there's the youngest". He doesn't identify him according to his potential, just his current position.
Life will do this to you: try to label you according to your educational background, according to your ethnicity, according to whether you're a man or a woman. Life will try to label you this way. "Well, there's the youngest, but he's tending the sheep". Samuel said, "Send for him; we won't sit down until he arrives". The one they didn't even think to bring in the room was the one God had chosen from the foundation of the world. I want to make an announcement. You can't dis-appoint what God has appointed. When God calls your name, when God gets ready to use you, when God gets ready to do a work in your life, when God gets ready to raise you up, when God gets ready to send you forth, when God gets ready to start up your gift, when God gets ready to release your purpose… I love God, because he knew how to find David even in the field. He didn't need David to be in the lineup.
Do you know what? You don't have to position yourself in front of people to be used by God. You don't have to convince a committee that you're good enough for the grace of God. How many are grateful that God chooses sovereignly whom he wills and uses sovereignly whom he wills? When God gets ready to use you, there's no devil in hell that can stop him. If it had been up to people, David wouldn't have gotten his turn, but when God says, "It's your time," he knows exactly where to find you. Don't stress out about it. Don't worry about whether or not people appreciate you. Don't even worry about whether they notice you. Don't even worry about whether they call you by your correct name. It doesn't matter. You cannot dis-appoint what God has appointed.
If David hadn't been in the field keeping sheep, he wouldn't have been prepared to lead people. What he should have, could have, would have seen as being very insignificant was exactly the thing he needed to prepare him for his assignment. It's a funny thing, though. You would expect that after this moment where David is anointed, appointed, called to be a king, the next scene we would see would be that of David and his driver making a trip, perhaps to Neiman Marcus.
Come on, if God told you you would be the next king, wouldn't you want to go try on some robes and some crowns, size 42 short? Wouldn't you want to try on some Versace crowns, Armani robes? "I need to get ready for this thing". Sometimes we expect that when God announces a change in our lives it's going to be activated immediately. We get confused when God says, "It's your time," but he makes us wait our turn. Sometimes God is doing things… It was on that day that David was announced to be a king, but it would be many years later that he would wear the crown. When you give your life to Christ, in a moment you're saved. In a moment you're forgiven. In a moment you're cleansed. In a moment you're redeemed. All of those things are true of you immediately, but all of the changes those new realities are meant to produce in your life happen not immediately but gradually.
Do you know what I see people do? I see people become very discouraged in the process of awaiting the change God initiated, because we're a little bit confused. I remember Elijah was so confused when we gave the money to build Elevation Ballantyne. We bought the land back in 2012. Elijah was 6 years old at the time, and he gave an offering. Our whole family was supposed to give, so I let Elijah give $70 of my money that we pretended was his, just like all the money he thinks he has. After he gave the money, he said, "So Daddy, we're having church at Elevation Ballantyne next Sunday"? In his mind, "I gave the money…" It's four years later now, and here we are finally. We bought the land in one season; we built the building in the next.
Sometimes you walk away from your initial investment because you don't see the immediate development. Sometimes you give up on your calling too easily and miss your turn. David didn't go try on crowns and practice his king wave and practice signing kingly autographs. David went back to the sheep field to do what he was doing before, until one day he was given an assignment by his father. I don't know if a lot of people know this part of the story. Everybody knows about the slingshot and about Goliath and how Goliath fell. I'll tell you what. If you ever want to be a preacher, you should preach about Goliath. People love to hear sermons about Goliath, because everybody has something in their life that's bigger than them.
Everybody has something in their life that has been intimidating them. Everybody has a fear, an anxiety, an addiction. I could go around the room. I think I could probably point at people and look at them long enough and guess what your Goliath is. Some of y'all spend too much. Some of y'all eat too much. Some of y'all talk too much. Some of y'all judge too much. Can I keep going? I won't do it, but I could. Everybody has a Goliath. We preach about Goliath, and it makes for good preaching. "Goliath is going to fall down, and you can kill the giant". I believe that, but can I tell you something that is fascinating to me that the Lord spoke to me? I was studying this text, and the Lord said to me, "Most of the people you're talking to never even get to Goliath. You're trying to teach them how to kill an enemy they're never even going to meet".
When he said that to me, I was like, "What do you mean"? I went back to the text, and I remembered this. I saw this back in college. In fact, I used to share about it in college, because I thought it was important to talk about faithfulness in the small things. "Now Jesse…" This is 1 Samuel 17:17. It says this giant from Gath named Goliath was confronting and defying the people of God for 40 days. Every day he would taunt them. "Jesse said to his son David…" Verse 17 is kind of confusing. Jesse must have forgotten that he was talking to a future king, because what he asked him to do was so menial. He said, "Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp".
David could have said, "Who do you think you're talking to? Didn't you hear what Samuel said about me? I am a man of potential and purpose. I don't have time to run your little errands. I'm not trying to take bread and cheese to the same brothers who didn't even bring me into the room when Samuel came to choose a king". This is the test to see if David will do the basic things. Sometimes we want God to use us to do a big thing and we won't even do the basics.
How in the world can God use us to do something big and we won't even do something basic? I love David's heart, because the story could have stopped right here if he had said, "I'm not doing that. I'm a king. I'm not doing that. You're demeaning to me. I'm not doing that". You know all the ways we disobey God, these little things he asks us to do. "Call your sister and tell her you're sorry. Reach out to somebody who looks different than you and listen to them about their struggle". It's funny to me. Some of us want to kill Goliath, but we don't want to tend sheep and we don't want to make deliveries. We want to see big victories, but how in the world can God use us to kill giants if we can't even follow simple instructions?