I want to write a bit about chasing lions. This isn’t exactly a smart plan if you have ever seen the Animal Planet. Almost every time I see a lion there it wins. I have seen lions take down animals much larger than they are. I have seen their speed, strength and agility as they hunt, and I have been impressed by them. In fact if I ever saw a lion in the wild the last thing I would think about doing is chasing it. If by some chance it ran from me, my inclination would be to run as fast as I could away from it. Keep this thought in mind as you read further, I am going to shift gears on you for a minute.
God is pretty clear when he says that he has a plan for you. He has a plan and a purpose. He tells us in the book of Jeremiah that his plan is for good and not for evil. He tells us it is a plan that will give us a future and a hope. God has given us much. He has created us with gifts and talents that he plans to use.
There is a story told by Jesus in Matthew 25. Jesus is teaching his disciples and tells a story of three servants that are given gifts by their master. They were gifts of great treasure. One man was given 100 years wages for the average laborer, A second man was given 40 years wages, and a third was given 20 years wages.
The master went away and the servant with 100 years wages and the servant with 40 years wages went to work investing what they had been given and made a profit. The third servant with 20 years wages buried what had been given to him. Jesus tells us he was afraid of his master, afraid of losing what had been trusted to him.
When the master returned the first and second servants showed their profits and were praised and given even more to manage. The third servant was punished for not doing anything with what had been given to him. It seems the master wanted a return on his investment.
At this point you are probably wondering where those lions are that are mentioned in the title. All I can say is hang in there, they are coming. A couple of thoughts about the story from Matthew 25, the master gave the servants everything they needed to be successful, to make a profit, and to be elevated into a higher position in the master’s kingdom. The master in this story did not expect anything from his servants that he didn’t prepare them for.
By now you have probably figured out that the master in this story is God and the servants are you and me. God put gifts, talents, and abilities in our hands to profit his kingdom. He expects a profit when he returns, he expects you not to bury your talents but to use them to profit his kingdom.
This may seem disconnected but bear with me, the Bible talks frequently of shepherds. They are those guys with little crooked canes who look after the sheep. Their job is to make sure the sheep prosper. The sheep have been entrusted to the shepherd they are his responsibility. If you have been waiting for the lion talk, your in luck its time for that now.
Lions used to come and steal sheep from the shepherds. They would come and pick up a sheep and carry it away from the flock devouring it. The Bible says that we have an enemy. Peter tells us in first Peter that the devil is like a lion. He is seeking something to devour. John tells us that thieves come only to steal, kill and destroy. Lions come and take away that which has been entrusted to the shepherd.
If I am a shepherd and a lion comes and snags one of my sheep, I am writing it off as a loss. I get out my tax forms and make a note of the deduction I am about to take. I assume shepherds get a tax deduction when they lose sheep to a lion. I am just thankful for the sheep I have left and I look for a new field where the lion won’t find us. David didn’t think this way. David was a shepherd.
He tells us in the book of 1 Samuel of his life as a shepherd.
“But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear
…the Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me….” 1 Samuel 17:34-37 (NIV)
As a shepherd David realized God had put the sheep in his care. he took responsibility for what had been given to him. He was not afraid to fight for what had been given to him. David realized when he killed a lion or a bear that it was God who helped him do it.
David WENT AFTER THE LION. He chased a lion! I don’t know about you but in my life, there are times the thief has broken into my pasture and tried to steal away the promises that God gave to me. There have been times when our enemy the lion has snatched up one of the sheep in my pasture, my gifts, my talents, my abilities and run away with it. His intention was to steal it, kill it, and destroy it.
There are times when I have been like David and there are times when I have not. I pray that God gives me the strength to chase the lions that would try to rob me of the call of God on my life. I pray that God would grant me a heart like David to chase the lion, strike it and take back what God gave to me. I pray that you chase your lions too!