Chasing Donkeys and Other Unspiritual Tasks
By Wanda LeRoy, World Missions
Is God really interested in our daily lives? Is He near while we are performing humdrum, tedious tasks that seem to require so much of our time and effort? Can the nitty-gritty of life lead to His purposes? Incidents in the lives of Saul, Ruth and the Samaritan woman help us answer these questions.
Chasing Donkey (1 Samuel 9, NIV)
"Now the donkeys belonging to Saul's father Kish were lost, and
Kish said to his son Saul, Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys (verse 3).
In 1 Samuel 9 we are introduced to Saul, the son of a prominent Benjamite named Kish. Saul is described as an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites a head taller than any of the others. We then learn that Saul is sent out to chase down his father's donkeys.
Chasing donkeys doesn't seem suitable for the image of Saul's stature and heritage. He wasn't very good at the task either. Saul never did find the donkeys. What he did find, however, was the purpose of God for his life.
After three days of fruitless searching, Saul and his servant visited the Prophet Samuel in hopes of getting information about the lost donkeys. Saul did not know that God had arranged the visit. Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him leader over my people Israel; he will deliver my people from the hand of the Philistines . . . (verse 15). When Saul met Samuel, he learned that the donkeys were safe and that God had chosen him to be king over Israel.
Thinking It Over
- Looking for lost donkeys was an unexpected, unfulfilling task for Saul. What unexpected, unfulfilling task have you faced?
- Although Saul was faithful in his assigned task, he did not accomplish his goal. When has your faithfulness ended in apparent failure?
- In his moment of failure and distress, Saul sought an answer from God's prophet. Where do you go for help when you feel that you have failed to accomplish a task?
- Saul discovered that God used lost donkeys to reveal His purpose. What has God used in your life to reveal His purpose for you?
Other Unspiritual Task (Book of Ruth and John 4:1-42, NIV)
So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters (Ruth 2:3).
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, Will you give me a drink? (John 4:7).
These verses refer to two basic daily needs of lifefood and water. The tasks of securing food and water can be very tedious and in some areas of the world very time consuming. This certainly was the case for Ruth. In Ruth 2:7 and 17 we discover that she worked in the field from morning until evening, except for a short rest in a shelter and at mealtime (verse 14). Going to work everyday was not a spiritual event for Ruth. It was a necessity of life for her and Naomi.
In John 4, the Samaritan woman braved the hot noonday sun to get water. Customarily, she would have gone to the well at the end of the day when it was cooler. We do not know why she chose a different time, but we do know that she was doing one of the nitty-gritty tasks of life.
Centuries separate the lives of these two very different women, yet a common thread unites them God used the necessities of life to fulfill His purposes. Ruth needed food, and God directed her to the field of Boaz and her destiny in the lineage of the Messiah. The Samaritan woman needed water, and through that need Jesus introduced her to the Water of Eternal Life.
Thinking It Over
- Ruth's story demonstrates a generous spirit of personal sacrifice. How can such a selfless attitude help one cope with the routine demands of life?
- Ruth found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, a situation that only God could have arranged. Can you recall a situation that God arranged for you?
- The Samaritan woman was performing an everyday task when she met Jesus. Have you ever experienced God while involved in an everyday task?
- The Samaritan woman's routine was altered so that she could know the Truth and share Him with her fellow citizens. When has God altered your routine so that you could share His Truth with others?