"And Saul answered and said, ‘Am not I a Benjaminite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?'"
I Samuel 9: 21, King James Version
"What God Needs on Your Résumé"
"Leadership is found in becoming the servant of all."
If God sent someone like Samuel to me to inform me I was needed to lead in a way I had never led before, what would my response be?
If I were choosing someone to be God's leader, what qualities would I look for in that person?
"Here was I, a simple girl, wishing to devote my life to God's service…I was being obedient to God's call."
Florence Tim Oi Li
Born in Hong Kong, first woman Anglican priest
"God doesn't call people who are qualified, He calls people who are willing, and then He qualifies them."
The other evening I was watching a program that detailed the lives of individuals who were searching for jobs. Many had paid a great deal of money to have specialists help them refine their résumés. Those hunting for jobs were shown how to highlight certain aspects of their work history to better promote the skills they hoped would assist them in finding just the right placement.
As I watched each person undertake their personal job search, I began to consider what it is that God looks for when He puts out a "Help Wanted" sign.
Our text today, and the context in which these words were spoken, certainly give us a glimpse into some of the characteristics we may believe help qualify us, like tall, smart and good-looking, yet they don't seem to matter at all to God.
When Samuel was told by God that Saul was to be anointed the first king of Israel, upon telling Saul this news, Samuel was informed, by Saul himself, that he wasn't qualified. Saul believed that despite his outward looks, his résumé was way too thin.
Let's take a moment to check-out some of the negatives that would seem to eliminate Saul's name from consideration for such a lofty position as king.
First and foremost, Saul brought up the fact he was from the tribe of Benjamin. Talk about a smudge on your name. Don't forget, it was men from the tribe of Benjamin who raped the Levite's wife and left her for dead. Appalled by this vicious act, the other tribes of Israel attacked the tribe of Benjamin ending up killing 25,000 of their "men of valor."
Obviously, Saul felt this historical background about the tribe of Benjamin, would give cause for the other tribes of Israel to revolt at his selection. But what complicated the situation even further was that the tribe of Benjamin was not only the smallest, but Saul's family was deemed, "the least of all the families in the tribe."
This was why Saul's initial response to Samuel's words, that God had chosen him as king, were ones of utter surprise. I can't fault Saul for the shock he showed. I believe I would have done the very same thing. I'd have been flabbergasted if I'd been in Saul's shoes.
The way God acts, when He chooses those He needs, while it might surprise all of us, should also prepare all of us. For regardless of our nationality, family, sex or age - God repeatedly shows in the Bible, that anyone who has a heart for God, has the right quality! Samuel certainly knew age didn't matter for God called him as a child. God also used the elderly Eli to be an instructor to young Samuel. What's more, God used foreigners, too. Just think of Rahab and Ruth. And this brings me to the place we as women need to come when we bring our outstretched hands to our Father, longing to serve Him.
Never let anyone deny your calling because of your gender. God's call isn't for males only. God's "Help Wanted" sign doesn't say, "Females Need Not Apply." So girls, get ready, because you may be from the tribe with the worst reputation. Your tribe may be small and your family inconsequential. It doesn't matter to God.
In 1842, Isabella Gilmore was born in London. Her father died when she was only five-years-old. While she had a happy marriage, her husband died when she was just 40. Childless, she studied as a nurse and then in 1884, she took on the care of her own eight orphaned nieces and nephews.
During a church service in late October of 1886, Isabella tells of an experience she had:
"I went to early service, alone, and to the 11 o'clock with the children. The preacher was a stranger; he gave out his text. "Go work for me today in my vineyard." To me it was a trumpet call; I never heard any of the sermon. I could hardly keep from off my knees until it was finished; it was as if God's voice had called me, and the intense rest and joy were beyond words."
From this calling, Isabella Gilmore and the Bishop of Rochester planned for the Order of Deaconesses where women became effective leaders combining their unique skills as nurses and social workers along with training other women. For twenty years, Isabella served God. She was undeterred by any formidable roadblocks placed in her way - the greatest being that she was a woman working for God at a time when her ministry was thought to be unconventional. But who was she to say, "No," to God's call. And who are we to say, "No," either. Even when we are surprised we are called, may we never forget we have been promised, "My grace is sufficient for you."
"The responsible person seeks to make his or her whole life a response to the question and call of God."
A Psalm For Women
"Shalom, daughters of God!
Your Father is pleased with you.
How good it is to be called to serve
in the household of God.
Thus saith the Lord,
‘Give flesh to the Word of life,
break the bread of justice,
feed all who hunger to take
their place at the table.
Lift the cup of freedom filled
with the saving blood of Christ
who lived and died for us all.
The Child of God was born of woman,
God first chose a woman to lead
the opening liturgy of the Incarnate Word.
Now every woman ever after
shares in the ministry of the women of Galilee.
Now is the day of deliverance.
Now is the appointed time.
You are the good news God proclaims…
women, claim your freedom
live your sacred calling…
you are daughters of God."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at discount for your Women's Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please call: 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.