You've Mourned Long Enough
1 Samuel 15:34 – 6:1 (NLT)
Then Samuel went home to Ramah, and Saul returned to his house at Gibeah of Saul. Samuel never went to meet with Saul again, but he mourned constantly for him. And the Lord was sorry he had ever made Saul king of Israel. Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”
Almost every spiritual leader, particularly those who pastor, have suffered a heart break as the result of a relationship strained by separation. Do they realize that I still love and care for them, even if they’re not around? Do they understand that I’m hurt by not having an opportunity to share my thoughts? Do they know I considered them to be a friend, regardless of our ministry relationship? Can they comprehend that I mean the best for them, even in the midst of our disagreement?
So many have asked these questions, among others, when a relationship is severed due to a changed or failed ministry assignment. Relationships, unfortunately, are often part of the price paid for the work of the ministry. Many leaders, mentors and teachers mourn and cry over those who have walked away, not necessarily because they feel personally betrayed, but because they realize and understand God’s displeasure. There is a helplessness that comes with severance.
Samuel understood these sentiments. He had a relationship with Saul. Having been used of God to identify his gifts and call, Samuel was invested in Saul’s spiritual success. Have you been there?
Imagine Samuel's feeling when God spoke to him and confirmed that the grace upon Saul was being removed. I can imagine that Saul likely felt betrayed by Samuel. Yet, the prophet had an obligation, despite his personal feelings, to not only speak the word of God but anoint the replacement for a rejected king.
We know, through Scripture, that Samuel was emotionally effected. He mourned and cried for Saul. He cared, whether Saul knew it or not. While God severed the relationship, due to the missed assignment, the distance did not imply that Samuel stopped caring. In fact, a rebuke from the Father was necessary in order for him to move on. The Scriptures even go on to explain that Samuel was concerned about ordaining another chosen vessel. He was concerned with what Saul would think and feel.
Leaders, let this encourage you. So often, we wonder why relationships must be severed. We hate to see others walk away with "bad blood", especially when we know they didn't understand our hearts. As servants of God, when assignments are missed, we give God permission to remove those people who may cause a distraction from our Kingdom responsibility. When people refuse to submit as they should or otherwise cut their own assignments short, they negate our degree of influence as vessels of God. It doesn’t mean any love is lost. It does mean, however, that our purpose for them has been rejected, whether they realize it or not. It's time to move on.
Realize too that it's not always God who issues the immediate rejection. Sometime it's the recipient of your gifts. As servants, the services we offer can be declined by those staged to benefit from them. So, we must trust God. Cry, but only for a moment. There is work to be done, and we have signed up to be used.
Be encouraged. You’ve mourned for Saul long enough… David is waiting!