Who Are You Trying to Be

Who Are You Trying to Be?

Has there ever been a little boy who hasn’t dreamt of being a hero? If so, the number would be few. In ancient days, visions of kingship would have abounded in young minds. Several years back, my wife was babysitting a little girl and asked her the typical, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question. Kelsey’s reply? “I want to be queen!” If a child in a democratic environment has visions of royalty, how much more would be the case in a monarchy?

A very interesting thing happened when King Saul agreed to let David fight the giant, Goliath. Saul dressed David with his own kingly fighting gear. Due to possible size differences, it’s difficult to believe that all of the armor given to David belonged to Saul. Still, the Scriptures are clear that some of it belonged to the king himself.

Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. 1 Samuel 17:38-39 (NASB)

Samuel had prophesied over the young lad and anointed him as the next king. Now, the current king was clothing David with his own royal fighting gear. And what did David do? He took it off! Rather than look kingly and walk poorly, David wisely chose to fight within the sphere of his own gifts and abilities. David knew who he was and the manner in which God had gifted him.

This may seem to be an obvious lesson, but I don’t think we always get the point. In virtually every field of life, there are highly gifted people—“kings”, if you will—who outshine the rank and file with their skills and resulting prestige. Almost everyone, then, seeks to emulate the “rock stars” of their particular endeavor.

Nowhere does the tendency to clothe ourselves with the “king’s garments” appear to be more true than with Christian service. I’ve been to my share of leadership conferences and I’ve read quite a few books over the years. One pattern clearly emerges: when a particular leader has visible success, a long line of followers begins to mimic his or her practices. More often than not, little long-term fruit results. Why? Because each person’s—and each church’s—set of circumstances is unique. One size does not fit all when it comes to Christian ministry. Who are you trying to be?

When I look at the communication skills of some Christian leaders, I have good reason to be envious. If I try to emulate their efforts, however, I fail miserably. Instead, I have learned the importance of discovering the gifts and abilities that God has given to me and of serving within my own God-given sphere. This isn’t to say that I can’t learn from the practices of others, but rather that, at my very core, I cannot live another person’s life.

If David had tried to fight Goliath while wearing King Saul’s armor, the results would have been disastrous. Instead, the wise young man utilized the gifts God had given him, along with the skills he had honed as a shepherd. It’s for that reason the story of David and Goliath remains epic to this day.

It takes courage to live within our God-given sphere of abilities. We risk obscurity and even rejection as we fail to meet the cultural standards of our day. What we gain over the long-term, however, far exceeds what we may lose. Nothing can compare to the favor and anointing of God when it comes to fighting battles and advancing God’s kingdom on earth. Who are you trying to be? Don’t worry about the “kings and queens” that capture your envy. Be the person God has created you to be and the world will be a better place for it!

photo credit: Bre LaRow via photopin cc