King Saul pursued David into the desert of Ziph out of fear that David’s popularity had exceeded his own. He feared that his kingship was in danger if David grew more popular, more beloved of the people. He was relying on the peoples’ opinions to determine the strength of his kingship. This reveals the weakness of King Saul’s faith. His kingship was a gift from God—a responsibility placed upon his shoulders by divine anointing! In short, Saul was acting like an earthly king instead of a steward of God’s Kingdom.
Our calling comes from God, not from men. At our baptism we are anointed with the Chrism that marks us as priests, prophets, and kings in Christ Jesus. We are enlisted in God’s service, not our own. We are called to accomplish God’s goals, not our own. Our motivation, our approval, and our judgment come from God alone. The ways of the world are simply beneath us; we are called to a higher standard of behavior. King Saul should have been above petty jealousy or revenge; he was King of Israel anointed by God.
In the same way, we are called to behave as stewards of God’s gifts. We give charitably without expectation of earthly reward. We love even our enemies because God asks us to love, not because we expect to win them over. If we do win over our enemies it will be because the Holy Spirit has moved their hearts in response to the love God has shown them through us, not because we earned their respect or deference. The reward we seek is the approval of our true King—God Himself. We acknowledge that God is the judge, not us, and we abide by His just judgements. We forgive because God wants to forgive others through us. We give because God wants to give to others through us, and our reward is the joy we have in the service of the God Who loves us. In the words of the ancient battle hymn:
Rise up, O Men of God; have done with lesser things! Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of Kings.
Lift high the Cross of Christ; tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man rise up, O Men of God!
Peace in Christ, Today’s Readings: 1 Sm 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23