We recently heard the story of David and Goliath. If you want to read it again it is recorded in 1 Samuel 17. The giant Goliath, standing 9 foot tall and wearing 100 pounds of armor, was the most frightening warrior of the enemy Philistine army. He issued a challenge to the Israelite army directed by King Saul for one-on-one combat. Not one soldier was willing to take on the challenge and 40 days have passed.
David, already secretly anointed the next king of Israel, is still a youth whose work is watching over his father’s sheep. He comes to the camp to bring provisions to his brothers, hears what is going on, and offers to take on the challenge. He won. He defeated the giant in what those without faith would say were insurmountable odds.
We will probably never be confronted by a giant soldier, but we are all called to confront giants like grief, loneliness, sadness, insecurity, failure, oppression, and injustice. The struggle against those giants may seem insurmountable. But, with trust in God and the tools God provides, we can overcome these giants in our lives not by fighting on their terms, but on God’s.
David won the battle against the giant by using the skills he had—a slingshot and rocks. The armor loaned to him was heavy, unfamiliar to him, and it made it hard for him to walk let alone take an offensive stand against Goliath. As people of faith, we have tools that we learn through our times of private and public worship, Bible study, Christian conferencing, and prayer. We are armed with the knowledge of God’s vision for a world where everyone is equal, everyone is loved, everyone trusts God, loves Jesus, and looks to the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance.
For instance, when we face the giants of oppression and injustice, we begin with the absolute certainty that God loves everyone and offers grace and mercy to everyone. With that confidence supporting us we prepare for battle using all the tools I mentioned above, especially prayers for guidance and patience. Then we trust that God is with us, and not only can we rely on God, but we also must, for our abilities are so small compared to God’s. Then we step out to speak and act against human traffickers, slavery, bullies, starvation, lack of access to medical care, and inequality.
It is the work of groups like the United Methodist Committee on Relief, our five children’s agencies in IGRC, every homeless shelter and safe house, every food pantry, and every community experiencing violence in any form. It is the work of all who think they are too small and powerless to make a difference and yet trust in God to lead them out to change the way the world operates, one person at a time.
It is the work of every Christian.
It is our work.
Let’s get to it!