Staying with the Stuff

Soldiers who stay behind to guard the camp get as much as those who go into battle.  – 1 Samuel 30:24 (CEV)

Life can turn on a dime.

David, better than anyone, knew this. 

In today’s reading, he and his men have returned from battle to discover Ziklag, where they’d settled with their families, burned to the ground, and everyone—women, children young, and old—taken captive, including David’s family. David’s men blamed him for their loss.

“But David found strength in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). 

“Shall I chase after this band of raiders?” he prayed.

“Yes,” God told him. “You will surely recover everything that was taken from you.”

Somehow David convinced his men, who were talking of stoning him, to join him in his pursuit. However, 200 of the 600 men who set out stayed behind, too exhausted to go on. David and his warriors surprised the enemy, recovered everything that had been taken, and came home with a sizable plunder purse.

Which they didn’t want to share with the 200 who hadn’t gone along.

“No, my brothers,” David said. “Don’t be selfish with what the LORD has given. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us. Who will listen when you talk like this? We will share and share alike—those who go into battle and those who guard the equipment.” 

I like the way the King James Version phrases that last statement: “so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff.”

Have you ever had to “tarry by the stuff” because you were too exhausted to go on, or because someone had to take care of things back home? 

One evening nine years ago during baseball practice, my 14-year-old grandson Brent suffered a compound fracture of the bone in his upper left arm in a violent collision with another player in center field. An ambulance transported him to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he underwent surgery the next morning. His parents spent the next three days with him in Pittsburgh. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Grandpa and I “tarried with the stuff” – two grandchildren, ages 6 and 10; Zoey, their 4-month-old Dogo Argentino; a couple dozen chickens, a goat, and a horse. We weren’t able to physically be with our loved ones during this crisis. But someone had to maintain the home front and what better someone than we who lived next door? 

As I pondered my role during my quiet time that week, 1 Samuel 30:24 came to mind. Both those who go forth to deal with the emergency and those who stay behind to guard the stuff have vital jobs in the battle of life. I not only got to spend precious time with my grandchildren and my “grand-dog,” bonding more with them, but also I was able to have Brent’s favorite meal waiting for them when they got home. 

Crises hit all of us. Sometimes it’s your job to go forth and fight. But if your role is to “stay with the stuff,” remember it’s just as important to guard the home front – with love, action, and prayer. 

Thank you, Lord, that we can find strength in You and turn to You for wisdom during crisis times, whether we go forth or stay with the stuff. Amen.

Read and reflect on 1 Samuel 30.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

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