Prince Jonathan, the son of Israel’s first anointed king, is an amazing example in the Bible of honor and integrity. Think about it: he was logically expected to succeed his father, King Saul, as king—but the prophet Samuel anointed the boy David instead.
Now, if I were in Jonathan’s position, I think I would have succumbed in one of two ways. Either I would have become consumed with envy, feeling that I had been dealt an unjust hand. Or I would have not cared about the affairs of the kingdom from then on.
But what did Jonathan do? For as long as he remained a prince, he was the best prince that he could be, right up until the end when he died fighting a doomed battle.1 Even while he filled his role of prince, he also honored and protected the future king, David, on numerous occasions.
I don’t think Jonathan saw ruling Israel as a self-serving opportunity. He didn’t seem to care who was king, as long as they led the country in God’s ways. He put his full weight behind David, God’s anointed, simply because he was God’s anointed. That takes integrity—the kind of deep-seated integrity that comes from complete confidence in God’s providence.
There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be good at what we do and receiving recognition for it, but we can become disheartened and discontent if we belittle our own place in life and long for a seemingly more preeminent position. Certainly, there are many individuals who excel in positions of great usefulness or prominence. But many of us fill a place in life that would be considered more common and ordinary. Nevertheless, we are each given valuable hidden skills that can be developed in our current circumstances. And when we accept our situation and do all we can in it, we will often find ourselves developing those hidden or formerly dormant talents, which we can then use to help others. This in turn brings us contentment and fulfillment.
No place or position is really common or ordinary if it is the place and position God meant us to have, and where He meant for us to develop our unique skills.
Art by Rene Pfitzner. Text courtesy of Activated magazine.