He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
When God ignites a heart, He does so in normal natural ways. Oh, I’m sure some have been set ablaze as they fasted and prayed in extended times of solitude. But I believe, most of the time, God does His work in everyday life. I believe a burning passion is lit and kindled in the midst of the work day; carpooling kids to practice; making house payments; repairing leaky toilets; contemplating career changes; doing relationships; doing marriage; working through conflict; writing checks for car repairs—you know, the sheep pens of life. It’s in the midst of the pens that God chooses His children to follow hard after Him. It’s from the pens that God calls us to higher levels of meaning and significance. That’s what happened to King David.
God called David to the palace from the pens. It was in the midst of David’s lonely, thankless, smelly work that God ignited the future leader’s heart. David learned the art of shepherding sheep and then took the transferable principles to people. A heart of integrity developed when no one was looking, became the same heart of integrity that led a nation to greatness. The skill in nurturing, protecting, and caring for sheep became the skill in leading a people to worship God. But remember God developed David in the pens.
Maybe you feel like you are living and working in the sheep pens. It stinks. It’s not particularly pleasant. It’s not where you want to be or thought you would be. You feel alone and maybe even abandoned. Let me remind you that God is not wasting your time. Don’t waste His. Let Him prepare you for your future. Remember: He does His best work in the pens.