Abbott finished ushering the last of the sheep into the pen and snapped the door shut. With a satisfied smile, he threw his arm around the neck of one of his sheep. Pulling his smart phone out of his pocket, he extended his arm and snapped a couple of selfies. “Oh yeah…I’m b-a-a-a-a-d!” A sudden blurb of movement out of the corner of his eyes caught his attention. Phone dropping to his side, he squinted at the figure walking towards him, silhouetted against the backdrop of the blazing sun. It was Jesse’s son.
“Hey David, what’s up man?” Abbott called out with a cheerful smile.
“Hey Abbott...I need to ask you a favor.” David’s serious tone matched the concern streaked across his face.
“Uh...sure man. What’s up?” Abbott replied. Where is this going?
“Can you watch my flock for a few days? My dad asked me to bring some food to my brothers.” Perhaps seeing the hesitation on Abbott’s face, he then blurted out. “Everyone else is up at the battle lines and my dad is too old.”
“Well… you know I’d love to…” Abbott racked his brain for excuses. Last thing he needed was another flock of sheep to take care of. It was a long enough job as it was. This would seriously cut into his video game playing time. But as he looked up at David’s pleading eyes, he felt a gentle conviction tugging at his heart. If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility.
“…but...?” David’s voice trailed off.
“No buts,” Abbott stood up straight and smiled. “I’d love to.”
“Thanks man!” David’s face lit up in excitement. “You have no idea what this means to me! I haven’t seen my brothers in weeks!”
“You got it man,” Abbott smiled to himself as he watched David skip away. Who knows?Maybe with a little extra good food in their stomachs, they might win the battle against the Philistines.
In 1 Samuel 17:20, David leaves his flock with an anonymous shepherd to bring food to his brothers at the frontline. He most likely wasn’t named Abbott (hey, you never know) and he most certainly didn’t have a smart phone or video games. He did, however, agree to take on an additional responsibility that would have made his life a little bit harder.
With his flock taken care of, David was able to go on to the frontlines – where he slayed the evil Philistine giant Goliath with a sling and rock, accomplishing a victory guided by God. Thus, as a result of this shepherd’s unselfish act, the entire nation of Israel was blessed.
Okay, maybe that's exaggerating his role a little bit. If he had said no, God probably would have supplied another willing shepherd in his place. But that's just it - he didn't say no. As a result of him faithfully lending a hand to a brother in need, he is recorded (though unnamed) in the annals of biblical history - ultimately playing a part in God's monumental plan of salvation to bring his Son to the world through the nation of Israel.
When you go the extra mile to do something nice for somebody, it may be difficult and uncomfortable. It’s also entirely possible that no one will recognize you for your actions. However, God does take notice – and you never know how He may multiply the blessing. Just ask Abbott (or whatever his name was!).
- Nicolas C. Day
 Deuteronomy 22:1 NLT
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