"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
September 3, 2014
Last week I wrote about those who have a sense of entitlement. This week I'm writing about those on the opposite end of the spectrum. I will refer to them as those who have the Mephibosheth mentality.
In 2 Samuel chapter 9 we read the story of David and Mephibosheth.
"One day David asked, 'Is anyone in Saul's family still alive -- anyone whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?' He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul's servants. 'Are you Ziba?' the king asked. 'Yes sir, I am,' Ziba replied. The king then asked him, 'Is anyone still alive from Saul's family? If so, I want to show God's kindness to them.' Ziba replied, 'Yes, one of Jonathan's sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.' 'Where is he?' the king asked. 'In Lo-debar,' Ziba told him, 'at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.' So David sent for him and brought him from Makir's house. His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan's son and Saul's grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, 'Greetings, Mephibosheth.' Mephibosheth replied, 'I am your servant.' 'Don't be afraid!' David said. 'I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king's table.' Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, 'Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?'"
In 1 Samuel 20:14-17 Jonathan was speaking to David and said, "May you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord as long as I live. But if I die, treat my family with this faithful love, even when the Lord destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth." Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, "May the Lord destroy all your enemies!" Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.
Remembering his friendship with Jonathan the the solemn vow they had made to one another, David wanted to be sure and fulfill his promise should there be any member of Saul's household still alive. He apparently remembered that Ziba had been a servant of Saul's so questioned him. He found that Jonathan had a crippled son who was still living. I don't know how old Mephibosheth was at this time, but we see in later scripture that he was father to a young son. I don't know if Mephibosheth had ever met David prior to that time, or if he only knew the stories that he had been told of the king's friendship with his own father.
When David sent for Mephibosheth and requested that he come to the palace, I wonder what thoughts were running through this young man's mind. Was he afraid that David had found that he was Saul's grandson and the only family member still living, so was going to have him killed in order to annihilate all the lineage of Saul? Perhaps he thought that David was bringing him to the palace to be a servant. Whatever his thoughts, he was apparently showing fear when he came before David, because David's first words to him was, "Don't be afraid!" David then proceeded to tell him that he intended to show kindness because of his promise to his father, Jonathan. He vowed to give Mephibosheth all the property that had once belonged to his grandfather Saul, and told him that he was to eat with him at the king's table. Wow! What an incredible honor! Here Mephibosheth was living in the home of another man, named Makir, and he suddenly found himself at the king's palace; having all his grandfather's land restored back to him and being invited to eat at the king's table as one of David's own sons.
But Mephibosheth's response was, "Who am I, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?" He didn't see himself as being worthy of the gift and honor that David was bestowing upon him. Perhaps he thought that it was his father who had been a such a great friend to David and such a great warrior; and he had done nothing to deserve this attention from the king. He was just a cripple who had to be helped to walk and couldn't work or fight battles or support his own family. In his eyes, he may have perceived himself as nothing but a dead dog; having no purpose and no use.
Many times that is people's attitude about accepting salvation and the gifts and blessings that God wants to bestow upon them. They feel unworthy and like they have done nothing to deserve them. Compared to others, they see themselves as nothing but a stinking, rotten sinner who has made one mistake after another. Their thought is, "Why should God listen to me or answer my prayers? I'm a nobody."
Even those who have been saved for many years can sometimes take on the Mephibosheth mentality of feeling unworthy of asking God for His favor or accepting the blessings that God wants to pour out upon them. They see themselves as a cripple, a dead dog, having no value or usefulness. Perhaps, God would let them be a slave; so they spend years trying to be good enough and doing enough good works, and finally find themselves wearing out and growing weary.
But just as that wasn't David's plan and purpose for Mephibosheth, that isn't God's plan for us!
David summoned Saul's servant Ziba and said, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master's household. But Mephibosheth, your master's grandson, will eat here at my table." Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Ziba replied, "Yes, my lord the king; I am your servant, and I will do all that you have commanded." And from that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly at David's table, like one of the king's own sons. Mephibosheth had a young son name Mica. From then on, all the members of Ziba's household were Mephibosheth's servants. And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king's table. (2 Samuel 9:9-13 NLT)
Romans 8:14-17 tells us that all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. We have not received a spirit that makes us fearful slaves, instead, God adopted us as His own children. Now we call Him, "Abba, Father." Since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory.
Galatians 4:4-7 tells us basically the same thing. When the time was right, God sent His Son, Jesus, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. Now we are no longer a slave, but God's own children; and since we are His child, God has made us His heirs.
We don't have to go through life feeling like a dead dog with no purpose! Our life may have been crippled with sin, guilt, shame, remorse, etc.... but when we accept Jesus into our heart, those things should no longer have a hold over us. God doesn't look down from Heaven and see us as an ex-sinner, who still carries the marks and stains of our past. No! When we repent of our sins, we become new creations in Christ; old things are past away and all things become new. The blood of Jesus washes us white as snow.
God looks down and sees us as His very own beloved children. Not only are we God's children, but He has also given us an inheritance as His heirs. We are somebody!
David didn't look down his nose at Mephibosheth when he saw that he was crippled in both feet. He didn't say, "Oops, sorry! You're not good enough to sit at my table with myself and my sons. You can eat the same food as we do, but I'll have my servants prepare you a table over in the corner." David didn't say, "The property that belonged to your grandfather Saul was going to be given to you, but since you're crippled and can't take care of the property, then I'm just going to keep it for myself." No! David put Ziba and his sons and servants in charge of farming the land and taking care of it. I'm sure it was a blessing for them to have a nice place to live and property to care for that produced food for them to eat. Even though Mephibosheth stayed in Jerusalem and continued to eat at David's table, he was still a landowner who had something that personally belonged to him. He had something that had belonged to his grandfather and had been in his family for many years.
God never looks down His nose at us and judge us unfairly. He doesn't push us over into a corner because we're not good enough or pretty enough or smart enough or rich enough or have imperfections. No! God invites us to join Him at His table and feast on all the blessings that He has. How we view ourselves at times is not a reflection on how God sees us. He sees us as precious sons and daughters, full of value and worth. God wants us to come to Him with our needs and request and petitions. He desires to have a relationship with us that is constantly growing and developing into a precious close-knit father/child connection. God loves us with an everlasting love. He will never give up on us or see us as unworthy.
It's easy to think we aren't worthy of God's favor. For one thing, the Bible does say that none are righteous, and similar many places. It's true, we aren't worthy of eternal life, because the wages of sin is death.
But the awesome, and incredible thing is: we don't have to deserve it. We are given God's love and favor without having to earn it.
Mephibosheth didn't slay a hundred of David's enemies, and didn't work his way up through David's household. Once Saul was defeated, by most rights, Mephibosheth's inheritance was forfeit. But he did receive everything, anyway, simply because David wanted him to have it. And he didn't even have to work the land himself.
With such an awesome gift God offers us, and with the sacrifice Jesus made, how can we turn it down? How can we feel anything less than worship?
1 lb. Ground Sausage
1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
3-4 cups whole Milk
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
Biscuits, warmed, for serving
Brown the sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink; crumble the meat up (can do with the spatula while browning). Reduce the heat to medium-low. Sprinkle on half the flour and stir so that the sausage soaks it all up, add add more little by little. Stir it around and cook it for another minute or so, then pour in the milk, stirring constantly. Cook the gravy, stirring frequently, until it thickens. (This may take a good 10 to 12 minutes.) Sprinkle in the salt and pepper and continue cooking until very thick and luscious. If it gets too thick too soon, just splash in another 1/2 cup of milk or more if needed. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Spoon the sausage gravy over warm biscuits and serve immediately.
This is just an idea that I've had for several months, but have just recently put into practice and done something about:
Winter will be coming up (yuck) in a few short months, and we never know what type of weather will be in store for us. Also, we never know when something may happen to our economy where jobs will be lost or work will be scarce. We also never know when some tragedy or riot or catastrophe could happen in our community. Jon and I depend on his paycheck, but if he should ever be without work or get sick, then that could be a hardship on us. Or something could happen where a family member needs help and are going through a tough time financially. These are the thoughts that prompted me to begin doing this: I have an extra room that we call our library room, and I recently began cleaning off shelf space so that I could have some pantry room. Whenever I go to the grocery store, I've started picking up just 1-2-3 extra items every time; extra toilet paper, laundry soap, canned goods, canned meat, toiletry items, boxed dinners, beans, etc..... Over the last few weeks, I've begun to accumulate a nice little stash. It really hasn't added a lot onto my grocery bill because I've just bought a couple things at a time. But now if something should happen where we couldn't have access to a store, or if finances got tight, or if a family member was in need -- then we have a stash that we could use or share. Jon said in Utah, the Mormans are taught to keep a 1 year supply of food and supplies at all times. When they need items, they will use the oldest purchased item they have on hand, and replace it with new. Having a years supply may be a tad overkill for most of us because we have no place to store that much, but for me, I think it's a good idea to keep a month or two of items on hand.
I was sharing this with a sister recently and she thought it was a great idea, but was trying to think where she had extra storage room. She happened to think that she had an upstairs hall closet that could be cleaned out and the shelves used for storage of extra items. Most of us have an extra couple shelves or closet or garage room or someplace that we could clean out some "junk" and use.
I'm not telling you you should or need to do this, but it's just something that's been on my mind for quite some time, so I thought I'd share.
A little boy was playing all alone in the front yard when a neighbor came along and asked where his brother was.
"Oh," he said, "he's in the house playing a duet. I finished first." - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon