Written by Amie Stockstill
It was a nerve-racking moment to walk into a beautiful, upscale restaurant with ten couples who you have looked up to for years without ever having the opportunity of knowing. My date, the honored guest, had been my youth pastor for six years and this was our very first date. It was his 30th birthday and his closest pastor friends and family decided to throw him a fancy dinner party.
The entry to the room was as grand as the room itself, including the twenty person square table decorated to perfection. To my surprise, no one sat down until Joel pulled out my chair, at the head of the table, and asked me to take my place. In the midst of trying to honor my pastor, I suddenly became the honored guest myself.
There was a man named Saul who had a similar experience in 1 Samuel 9. As he was searching for some lost donkeys, he stumbled upon the great prophet named Samuel. The Lord spoke to Samuel the previous day and told him Saul would be the very first king of Israel. When they met on the road, Samuel instantly recognized Saul as the chosen one. He told him not to worry about the donkeys and then he made a statement to Saul that was completely out of left field, “And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.”
He responds to Samuel’s claim with confusion and excuses, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?” Confidence is quiet. Insecurities are loud and proud!
Despite how Saul felt about himself, God made the decision to appoint him as king. Moving forward the Bible states, “Then Samuel brought Saul and his servant into the hall and placed them at the head of the table, honoring them above the thirty special guests. Samuel then instructed the cook to bring Saul the finest cut of meat, the piece that had been set aside for the guest of honor.” In the midst of finding donkeys, Saul became the honored guest of the Prophet Samuel. What a surprise for Saul. What began as running a simple errand ran him straight into his destiny!
The next day Samuel anointed Saul and told him he was chosen to rule the people of Israel. Reading the following chapters, we see that although Saul was chosen by God and placed at the head of the table, he never truly accepted his role with confidence. When Saul tried to anoint him in front of everyone, he hid behind the baggage! His story is riddled with comparison, self-doubt, and even torment from insecurities. He could have ruled with grace and confidence had he accepted that God was on his side! His own personal baggage held him back from becoming all he was designed to be. What a sad ending to a God-ordained beginning.
The lesson here is that our baggage determines our borders. We all have the seed of Saul in us! The insecurities, doubt, and fear that plagued Saul are the same tricks that Satan uses against us every day. If we are going to take our rightful place at the table, we have to defeat the relentless enemies of comparison and fear. Insecurity manipulates us into hiding. Belief in God allows us to step forward when called upon no matter the cost. It gives us the courage to shine in situations where we feel like the least qualified.
You only have one life. No one else can take the place at the head of your table. It is reserved especially for you. In fact, some of your greatest assets may be held up until you sit at the head of the table. You are the honored guest of your own life. Own it! This is your moment to take your place at the head table. He has prepared a table for you in the presence of your enemies (Psalm 23:5)!