Kings & Kickball

I Samuel 16:1-13

I often think the most traumatizing moments from my childhood happened on the playground. The bell would ring and the stampede would pour from the classroom, a herd of pre-adolescent energy ready to attack the playground, the kickball, and each other.

We would run to home plate. This, of course, was where the action began. It was at home plate that the dreaded process of choosing teams would take place. Often, this ritual would last longer than any game.

Dayne Anderson and Terry Bias were usually captains. The rest of the boys would stand around, waiting, hoping to be chosen first. It was common knowledge that the first boys to be chosen were the faster and stronger. Every team captain wanted these boys. The last to be chosen were, without fail, always slower and weaker and no one wanted them.

Every recess, it was the same. Dayne started by choosing Dwayne Hughes. Terry would choose Doug Mills. One at a time, the field of hopefuls reduced to a handful of the hopeless. Tony, Mike, and Dave joined Dayne. Brent, John, and Frank ran to Terry. One by one, the boys took their place behind their captain; the one who believed in their strength and skill, the one who picked them, the one who called their name. They were part of his team and nothing would change this now.

And every time it was the same. The only boys left were Junior, Michael, and me. We were the boys who, through some cruel act of fate, had been born “kickball deficient.” We had no kickball skills at all. Michael was dumpy and slow. Junior was frail. I was afraid of the ball.

Our lack of skill was legendary. I remember a recess when Dayne offered all three of us to Terry for one Mike Morris. Terry refused on the grounds that this wasn’t fair. Dayne’s response? “Okay, you can just have them.” This was a low point in my kickball career. Dayne would have rather played short than to play with us at all!

The passage in Samuel 16 is a story about choosing. It is also a powerful testimony to the true character of God. Standing before Samuel is the wanna-be’s. And this prophet is like a 5th grade team captain standing on home plate at recess. Which of the biggest and strongest should he choose first?

But God’s team is made up of different metal. His first choice is never ours. And this truth about God remains true throughout our entire life.

When we don’t make it to the finest college because our grades are sub-par, God comforts our hearts and minds. When the job review isn’t good and the raise didn’t come, God loves us, anyway. When our dream home went to a higher bidder, God still picks us. When our spouse left us for another, God still calls our name.

Life is full of hardships. Life is difficult and unfair. But God sees into our hearts. God knows our desires. And if our greatest desire is to follow him, he will see past the strong, he will look over the heads of the tall, and he will choose us, just as we have chosen him.

Thank God.


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