15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Tell me where is the house of the seer?” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20 As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found.And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s house?” 21 Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”
(1 Samuel 9:15-21)
In today’s passage, Saul meets Samuel. Notice that Saul walks up to a man who he does not know to find out where is the house of the seer. Saul didn’t realize it, but he had asked the question to the seer himself. This shows us how little Saul knew about Samuel, one of the most important and well-known people in Israel. Saul was clearly unfit to be the leader of the nation, having no relationship with God.
But also notice that Samuel looked just like everybody else, even though he was God’s leader over Israel and had been for many years. Samuel was unidentifiable as that leader. He had no entourage. He didn’t dress differently. He didn’t wear a crown or a sash identifying himself as a man of God.
On the other hand, Saul stood out. Samuel saw Saul [1 Samuel 9:17]. His eyes were drawn to him. Saul drew attention to himself as he was the best looking and tallest man in Israel [1 Samuel 9:1-2]. He had an appearance that made people notice him. He was also traveling with a servant as opposed to Samuel who was traveling alone.
God’s people are no different from anyone else. At least they shouldn’t be. We should not be able to look into a crowd of people and identify who are Christians or even who are pastors.
Anyone who claims to be a Christian but who calls attention to himself or herself or how lived differently (i.e. better than) from the rest of God’s people is likely not really a child of God. We can see this with many TV pastors.
A few years ago Creflo Dolar bought himself a $65 million Gulfstream jet. Well, actually he bought it with the tithes and offerings of his congregation. Joel Osteen, who pastors the largest church in America, lives in a house reportedly worth over $10 million dollars and has 3 elevators.
A couple of years Steven Furtick, who leads Elevation Church in North Carolina, built a multi-million dollar home for himself near Charlotte. The late Eddie Long, who pastored New Birth Missionary Baptist Church outside Atlanta, was chauffeured around in a Bentley and lived in a multi-million dollar home.
Sadly, the list of people like this could go on and on. I doubt many, if any, people in these men’s congregations have these things. These men – and many others, including women – don’t live like the people they pastor. This is one way we can tell they are false teachers.
For the most part, God’s leaders in the Bible lived like the people they led. Moses, Paul, Peter, John, Boaz, the prophets, and others did not draw attention to themselves. They were seen as plain, ordinary people [Acts 4:13]. So was Jesus.
King Solomon is an interesting biblical figure. A study of his life reveals that he was extremely wealthy. Wealth in itself is not a bad thing. But Solomon spent more money and time building his own home than he spent building God’s home in Israel – the temple. He lived in excess in many areas of his life, including marrying hundreds of women. These excesses bring into legitimate question whether or not he lived for the Lord.
No true Christian lives for themselves or desires to bring attention to themselves. Nor does a true Christian – or true Christian church – seek their own comfort over serving God. Sadly, though, there are too many of these types of people and churches today. They’re everywhere.
A true follower of Christ lives for one purpose – to bring attention to his/her savior – Jesus Christ – and does so at their own expense [John 5:44; Romans 12:3; Philippians 2:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 2:6 et. al].
John the Baptist had it right when he said, “He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” [John 3:30]
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