Earlier in the spring, I visited the historic Hunter House in Norfolk. It's a beautiful late 1800s house with adorable nooks and crannies - and some nice fireplace art too. The picture above shows a carved insert above a tile fireplace in the home's elegant dining room. The shepherd boy in the picture reminds me of David in the Bible. In fact, that was very likely what the artist had in mind.
The whole story of David's life - from start to finish - is an impactful picture of what God can do in a life that is dedicated to Him. From the time he was a young boy working in his father's pastures, David wrote poetry and songs of praise to His heavenly Father. Psalm 23 mirrors what David did for his sheep and what God did for Him (and still does for us every day). "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters...."
David probably spent weeks at a time in the fields and pastures, caring for great herds of sheep. As he faithfully cared for the animals and observed nature around him, he grew closer and closer to the great God who created it all. His many wonderful Psalms are eloquent testimony to relationship and reverence for the Almighty.
--"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?"
--"When you said, 'Seek My face,' My heart said to You, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek.'"
--"You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance."
--"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!"
Even as David fulfilled the job of shepherd boy, he had no idea that someday he would be king of God's people. Indeed, on the day Samuel arrived to anoint one of Jessie's eight sons, no one even considered calling David from the fields -- until.... there were no sons left to choose from. That's when the prophet Samuel said to send for the boy, because they would not sit down to eat until he came. When David arrived, the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!"
I love the song by Ray Blotz and Steve Millikan, entitled Shepherd Boy. The chorus repeats this heart-warming phrase, "But when others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king."
One of the wonderful lessons from that story is that we don't have to be the biggest or the best or the most educated or the richest - or any superlative you might think of. God can and does use ordinary people to do His extraordinary work on this earth every single day. What a joy and honor to be used of Almighty God to perform some work for Him.
I love the verse in Philippians, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" 4:13.