The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. (Matthew 13:44)
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.
By Nyx Martinez
It had been a satisfying day.
The world was a wonderful place, I thought, as I made my way to the office where my computer sat. Its keyboard beckoned my fingers to make contact.
As soon as the screen lit up, I knew something was terribly wrong. My hard drive had crashed.
It took a moment for the scope of the disaster to register in my slow-computing brain, but then it hit me. No, it slammed into me with the force of a bulldozer on a razing mission. My stomach did a back flip. My vision went hazy. My mind became clouded. The room spun.
The last six months of hard work—articles, graphic design, all that precious mental energy that had been stored on the computer’s hard drive for safekeeping—was gone.
My worst fear, like a meteor falling from the sky, came crashing down on me. Frustration, confusion, tragedy, and loss engulfed me.
Why, oh why, hadn’t I copied all that stuff onto a backup device? Now bits and pieces of creativity were lost, floating somewhere in cyberspace, far, far from home. And I couldn’t get them back.
But then I remembered the story of when Thomas Edison met a similar tragedy. His workshop caught fire, and months, years, even decades of hard work on numerous unfinished inventions went up in smoke.
“There go all my mistakes!” he said with amazing cheerfulness. And then he went right back to work.
I wondered if there was enough positive energy left in me to start again as bravely as Edison had. Contemplating these things somehow eased the pain and melted away that woozy feeling of defeat. I struggled to stand up from where I had fallen to my knees in frustration, and I forced the corners of my mouth into a smile.
Oh, some things in life seem totally unfair! But I refused to let defeat overcome me in that moment or have any bearing on my future efforts. I decided to see this situation not as the tragic end to all the projects that were lost, but rather as a new beginning for each of them in a future that was yet to unfold.
This is the first I’ve written since Demolition Day. “There go all my mistakes,” I’m saying. And I’m not going to quit. I’m on the rebound, back at my computer and ready to start again.
With backup files.
Story courtesy of Activated magazine. Art © TFI.
The Bright Pebbles series consists of short, illustrated devotionals for preschoolers and young children. This book, which can be downloaded for free in epub or mobi format, includes 15 devotional articles on topics such as faith, fear, trusting God and listening to God’s guidance.