“Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul, ‘Take one of the young men with you, and go and look for the donkeys.’ He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim,… [and] of Benjamin, but did not find them.
“When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant, ‘Let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.’ But he said, ‘There is a man of God in this city..; all that he says comes true… Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.’ Then Saul said, ‘But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring… What do we have?’ The servant answered, ‘Here, I have a quarter of a shekel of silver, and I will give it to the man of God to tell us our way…’ As they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming out toward them…
“Now the day before, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: ‘Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel…’ When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, ‘Here is the man of whom I spoke to you!..’ Samuel [said to] Saul, ‘I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place… As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found…‘
“Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, ‘Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies.'” 1 Samuel 9:3-8,14-17,19-20; 10:1
Saul had been looking for his father’s donkeys to no avail. No matter where he went, he hit a dead end, and anxiety overtook any fresh ideas. He never seemed to understand that he needed to get out of the way for God to do his work through him. He took the silver, but we not only have no record of his handing it over, but realize nothing could out-give what Samuel had for him.
So it is with us. We are desperate for help. We go from place to place on flesh-driven intuition and self-propelled effort. We think we must pay for or earn the help we seek. We want to contribute to our salvation. We focus on the small things when the Lord is urging us toward something much greater. All God asks is that we come on bended knee, with a humble, broken, contrite heart and open hands. When we acknowledge our emptiness, and trust Him for answers, He will fill us up and put us to use. (Psalm 51:16-17)
In our journeys of work and wandering, what drives us? What captures our eye, our effort? Do we waste time fretting over donkeys, and miss God’s greater kingdom endeavors? Might He be making us into shepherds?
Lord, keep me focused on eternal things, and ready always to be used for Your high and lasting causes.