Day 2: Five Smooth Stones
He took his shepherd’s stick and then picked up five smooth stones from the stream and put them in his bag. With his sling ready, he went out to meet Goliath (1 Samuel 17:40, Good News Translation).
I couldn’t believe I left my tennis shoes back in my dorm room. This was the most important match I faced, and my team needed me to win to place first in the tournament. There I stood facing my opponent with no shoes.
Quickly one of my teammates began to unlace her shoes and offered them to me, and while they were a close fit, they weren’t mine. They pinched in places where mine didn’t and were more of a distraction than if I had played barefoot. I lost the match, but I learned a valuable lesson.
On the bus on the way back to the school, the coach looked at me. She could see the shame and frustration I was feeling. She came back to my seat and asked me if I knew the story of David and Goliath. I shrugged my shoulders and mumbled a half-hearted yeah. She didn’t let my lack of interest or enthusiasm dissuade her from what she saw as an excellent teaching moment.
She explained how Goliath had taunted and ridiculed the Israelites, shaming them and their God. Still no one wanted to take on the giant. David, had been sent to check up on his brothers and was incensed at the abuse being spewed from the giant. He decided to take him on.
King Saul, in an attempt to make the fight more fair, tried to put David in his armor. I think there was more than just protection being offered. Perhaps Saul knew there really was a chance David could win and being dressed in the King’s armor would make him look good. The problem was the armor didn’t fit—like my teammate’s shoes and David knew it.
He thanked the king and went with what he knew: his staff and his sling, readied with stones from the creek. The simple things that had been his comfort and protection while out watching the sheep would be what he would rely on to defeat the giant.
And defeat him he did!
I got what the coach was saying. Her words had little to do with forgotten shoes and everything to do with trusting God with the talents and gifts he entrusted me with.
I never forgot my shoes again. And I carry a smooth stone with me wherever I go.
TO PONDER: What are the giants you are facing? What tools has God prepared for you to use to defeat those giants?
FOR DISCUSSION: If you were to choose five stones to help you remember the gifts God has given you, what would those stones be?
PRAYER: God, thank you for the gifts and talents you have given me to use in facing down the giants in my life. Sometimes I feel so small and can’t even image how or if you’ll use me. Help me to be ready. Help me to trust you. Show me my five smooth stones. And though I am small in the grand scheme of things help me to do great things for you. Amen.