Rite of passage parenting: A satisfied keeper
OK, I confess. I am just a nasty, old, rotten, wicked sinner who, for some reason known only to God in His sovereignty, has been saved by the wondrous grace of our Lord. I know many of you who read this article think that I have obtained some type of spiritual plateau that automatically makes me closer to God. All you have to do is call my wife, and she will set you straight. In reality, there is no spiritual distance between you and me. Sometimes I even get mad at God. Actually, I get mad a lot, especially when I think I’ve missed my due recognition. Even when I watch movies or read the Bible, I notice those who don’t get the acknowledgement they deserve. Let me give you some examples.
Have you ever watched Star Wars? Whether you are a die-hard fan of the original trilogy or have only seen the new releases, in all six movies, you will notice the same thing. R2-D2 is always there to save the day. Think about it: the fate of the entire universe hinging on a glorified trash can! That hunk of metal can whip out any gadget from electric zappers to bottle openers; save Luke or his father, Anakin; wrestle evil puppets; and still manage to rescue the princess. R2-D2 is the unsung hero every time.
At the end of each episode, the little droid always gets repaired, but where is his trophy? Where is the ceremony honoring him? Face the facts: R2-D2 never earns rewards along with Luke and Han. No one lifts him up on their shoulders and cheers after he saves the day.
I must confess that I have R2-D2 Syndrome. I’m always out to save the day. I’m the one who gets Luke Skywalker out of his messes. If it weren’t for me, every story would have a different ending. But in the end, I sit on the sideline being repaired while others get the parade, the thanks and the accolades. Yes, God continues to use me, but I need repairs because I struggle with—pride. I told you earlier that I was just a nasty, old, rotten, wicked sinner. Nothing demonstrates that better than the way I get mad when I think someone doesn’t appreciate me or my contributions.
The other day I was reading the story of David and Goliath, and I came across 1 Sam. 17:28 where David’s oldest brother Eliab questioned him, “And with whom have you left the sheep in the wilderness?” Knowing that David was a responsible young man who would certainly not go off and leave the flock unattended, I began to wonder: whom did David choose to care for his sheep? Verse 20 reveals the answer: David left the flock with someone known only as a “keeper.”
Wow, you would think God could have at least put the keeper’s name in the Bible! Being a keeper must be a thankless job without a single speck of glory. David killed Goliath, and the keeper kept the sheep. David received recognition, and the keeper received none. David got a crown and the spoils of war, and the keeper got nothing. David became King and the keeper became—just a keeper.
Like little R2-D2, the keepers are the unsung heroes of the Bible. They are the people who quietly, humbly do the will of God. In fact, God showed me something very special about these keepers. You see, when He introduced His Son to the world, He allowed the keepers to know before anyone else:
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for Him in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone about them and they were sore afraid.” (Luke 2:7-9, KJV)
It was the keepers, not the kings, who first heard the long-awaited news: the Messiah had come.
What an honor to be chosen by God to learn about Jesus’ birth before anyone else! The Holy Spirit reminds me that although King David may have had front row seats in the parade, the keepers had a private audience to the glory of God.
God, may I so desire to see Your glory that I will be satisfied without receiving any recognition. May my actions and attitude help each of my children understand how to find satisfaction: as a keeper for the Kingdom.
Each week behind this article there is a “Keeper” who edits, tightens and makes this article the best it can be. Her name is Marti Pieper. Last week Marti’s father, Hal Surface, went home to be with the Lord. Thank you, Marti, for being such a great example of a keeper; our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.