It is a familiar story. Samuel, the prophet and priest, comes to Jesse’s home. He asks Jesse to call his sons. Jesse calls seven of the eight. Samuel looks at each one, and afterwards, asks Jesse if he has any more sons. Jesse says he does and calls for the youngest, David, who is keeping sheep.
David is the one. He is the one who will be anointed as the future King of Israel.
David is an outsider. He is the youngest of his brothers. His father did not even consider him when Samuel asked for him to call his sons forward. Yet, he is the one that God chooses. God has chosen the youngest over the eldest before. All throughout Genesis, the youngest sibling is the one who receives God’s blessing and the mantle of the call to lead God’s people.
The young are often overlooked. They don’t have enough experience. They don’t have the skills. They don’t have the education. They don’t [fill in the blank].
The story of God calling David to a key leadership role highlights for us that God does not see the labels that we see. We are so quick to put labels on people – he is too young; she is too old; he is too poor; she is too uneducated. We see the label before we see the person; before we see the heart.
But, “the Lord looks on the heart.”
I like what Randall Bush has to say about this text:
In this story, as in life itself, the one neglected, marginalized, and explicitly forgotten by others is the one on whom God’s favor clearly rests. Worldly criteria like age, appearance, wealth, and status are distractions to God’s command to judge others based on what virtue and potential lies untapped within them.
Who have you overlooked recently? Who has been overlooked for ministry? Who has been overlooked for leadership? They have been called by God. Consider ways you can welcome and include those who are being overlooked in your churches, your ministries, and your life.