“Is there anyone else left?”
It seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? You and I might ask it when we’re leaving a building and it’s our job to turn out the lights. We turn back at the door and shout out, “Anyone left in here?” Then, when no answer comes, we shut it down, lock the door, and head home. When we ask the question, it’s really asked in the spirit of checking things off the list. We’ve done our duty, stayed until the end of this or that thing, and now we want to be done. But before we are, we’ve got to make sure there’s no one left. In fact, if indeed there was a shout back from the room we are closing up, we would respond by telling the person they don’t have to go home, but that they can’t stay here. We want to be done. Finished. Locked up and closed down.
When David asked this question in 1 Samuel 9, he did so with an entirely different attitude. Here was the once neglected shepherd boy who, against all rational thought, had risen to power through a series of amazing and relationships and military conquests. But to say it like that might make it seem like the road had been easy for David – that he just sort of sat back and let the providence of God wash over Him. And it wasn’t like that at all. He had fought, and he fought hard. He had battled military enemies as well as those who were supposed to be his allies, but who had turned on him in fits of jealous rage. In fact, when he did finally rise to power as a general, he had spent years in exile from the very homeland God had chosen for him to rule, chased day and night by a madman bent on his destruction. Then, before his throne was secure, he had to keep fighting in order to bring order from the chaos left in the wake of the previous regime.
It was an incredibly long road. But now? Now he had the throne. Now he had the power. Now all the promises that had been only words before were actually becoming reality. And that’s what makes the question so surprising:
“Is there anyone remaining from Saul’s family I can show kindness to because of Jonathan?” (2 Samuel 9:1)
It's tough to imagine what the reaction in the room might have been when those words came out of the new king’s mouth. Seriously? From the family of Saul? Saul – the guy that’s been chasing you? That’s been trying to kill you? Maybe you don’t remember that whole “pin you to the wall with a spear” incident.
David’s question didn’t come from a sense of obligation – thinking he had some kind of responsibility and couldn’t wait to get it done so he could get on with the rest of his business; it came from a heart of generosity. He was actively looking. Searching. Imploring. Surely there must be someone I can show kindness to. But then again, that’s what grace is like isn’t it?
When you get a little grace, you start asking, “Who else?” Because there must be someone. You don’t do it because you feel obligation; you do it because you have, if even for a moment, stood back and reflected on exactly who you are and where you are and the sense of it is overwhelming. It must be shared. It must be poured out:
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Is there anyone else left? You bet there is. And you and I are going to meet a lot of them today.
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared at Michael's blog and is used with permission.