Graceful Exit

1 Samuel 12:1-5

1Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. 2Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. 3Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”

4“You have not cheated or oppressed us,” they replied. “You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.” 5Samuel said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” “He is witness,” they said.

Boring Retirement

Do you have retirement plans? What do you do when you retire?

An 85-year-old teacher broke her hand and went to teach the very next day with cast on her hand. “I wouldn’t miss class for a broken bone,” she said. She has not missed one single teaching day in 26 years. She didn’t miss class when her house was damaged by a tornado, or when her husband passed away. She started teaching at the age of 59. Previously, she worked as nurse at the hospital where President Kennedy was brought into the ER after he was shot.

The 85-year-old teacher said, “I think, the more positive you are, the healthier you are, the more fun you have in life.” When asked about retirement, “Boring,” she scoffed. “I’d rather be in the classroom, this is fun.”

To be idle and just sit and eat snacks in front of TV all your life is boring.

It warns in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.

To do nothing or indulge in unproductive activities is a waste of life. There is time to relax but all year round relaxing is a lifestyle for sickly patients.

Seriously, if you evaluate your lifestyle, are you satisfied with it? Does it matter much to you, if you asses, gauge or weigh what you’ve done in this world?

1. Weigh

1Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. 2Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. 3Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”

Samuel asked the Israelite to evaluate and weigh his leadership style ever since he started leading them from youth until old age. Of course, the Israelites knew him to as honest leader. But, why did Samuel ask them, if he was abusive; if he cheated; if he oppressed anybody; or if he accepted bribes?

Samuel acknowledged that he was already old, and the Israelites did not require him to lead them in battles. Saul led them when the Ammonites attacked. It implies that Samuel was already physically weak. Samuel presented Saul their king as witness to their response when he asked them to prove his honesty.

But why did Samuel mention that his sons were there with them? His sons were dishonest leaders. They accepted bribes, and the Israelites rejected them.

The Israelites testified that Samuel was honest leader. When Samuel said that Saul was a witness to their answer, it implied that Saul as king Israel should follow the honest leadership of Samuel in contrast to the dishonesty of his sons. When Samuel mentioned his sons were there with them, the Israelite responses to his questions were indirect rebukes for his own sons. Additionally, his sons could possibly influence the Israelites to disobey God including Saul their king.

Can you agree that when God allows someone to exit from leadership ministry, He would surely provide someone to take his/her place of leadership?

The Lord did not allow Moses to enter the Promise Land, and the Israelites needed someone to lead them. The Lord told Moses in Numbers 27:18, Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him.

Other Bible translations did not include the word ‘leadership’ that NIV has included. Do you believe that the Spirit of Christ gives spiritual gift of leadership to those He has chosen as leaders of His people? Most church attendees want to get involved in the ministry only if they were chosen as leaders. Leadership is one of the spiritual gifts given to all believers who received the Holy Spirit.

It says in Romans 12:6-8, 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Ministry services acceptable to the Lord are inspired by the Spirit of Christ.

Believers faithfully get involved in the church ministry when filled and empowered by the Spirit of Christ. The church is the Body of Christ. Every part of the church has specific function as the Lord enables each of them. The Lord Jesus said in John 6:65, 65No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.

Someone said that when she retires, she’ll spend more time in the church. She retired at very early age, and she spent her time traveling around the world. She had noble plan to be in the ministry, but God decides who’ll serve Him.

We cannot prevent old age but we can grow old gracefully. Like Samuel, he served as leader from youth until he was old. Honest service is inspired by the Holy Spirit.  If you’re honest servants of the Lord, you’re a witness of yourself.

2. Witness

4“You have not cheated or oppressed us,” they replied. “You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.” 5Samuel said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” “He is witness,” they said.

The Israelites witnessed Samuel’s honest leadership. They testified before his sons and Saul their king. Samuel invoked the Lord as witness to their answer.

The Israelites acknowledged that the Lord is their witness when they said that they’ve got nothing to charge against Samuel. Samuel had a very graceful exit as Israel’s leader because he was honest in all his transactions, and the Israelites affirmed it before Saul their king and before the Lord.

Musician

Popular musicians have been in the headline news lately because of their active participation in church activities. They are very vocal about their faith, and many of their fans or followers are attending churches to follow them.

It is very easy for anyone to claim that they surrendered their life to Jesus but time will accurately prove if they would gracefully grow old serving the Lord.

The Lord Jesus compares genuine believer to good soil that yields harvest when explained the parable of different soils where the farmer planted seeds. Seeds were sown along the path, rocky ground, among thorns and good soil.

In Mathew 13:19-23, 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.  20The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

Be a witness of yourself, and observe if your life produced a harvest, yet.

Always remember our church slogan: A member has a disciple!

It should remind us of the reality of being genuine believer. We keep praying that all church members will eventually grow spiritually as disciples making disciples.

It is very tempting to have numerical church growth but when Christ Jesus returns, are we assured that we will exit this world gracefully like Samuel?

The Lord has already prepared someone to disciple for all genuine Disciples of Christ who had received His instruction to go and make disciples.

So, don’t force the issue of making disciple. Wait upon the Lord’s timing.

Make sure you personally received His instruction to go and make disciples.

Only genuine Disciples of Christ can produce genuine Disciples of Christ.

So, pray to be completely filled and empowered by the Spirit of Christ, and you’ll identify the person that the Lord had already prepared for you to disciple.

Pray that it will become your lifestyle to make disciple so that when Christ returns, we will gracefully exit this world and expect rewards from the Lord.

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