Jump Start # 3001
2 Samuel 23:20 “Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzel, who had done great deeds, killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day.”
As I write this, snow fills the air here in Indiana. It’s a cold day. Forecasters are calling for a few inches of snow here. This is normal for us. It’s winter and in the winter it snows. I’m one who likes to look out the window and watch the snow coming down. Snowy days always makes driving a bit more treacherous and there seems to always be a mad rush at the grocery store, as if we are going to be housebound for months. But, all of that is normal. It’s life here in Indiana.
But this snowy day made me think of this verse. It describes one of David’s mighty men. He was a brave man of action. Valiant and great deeds are listed in his resume. He fought men. He fought a lion. He was victorious on both occasions. The writer not only tells us that he fought a lion, but that battle took place in a pit on a snowy day. I love those details. How the lion got into the pit we are not told. Was it a trap and the lion fell in? Was it just a pit and the lion was in it? Was Benaiah in the pit as well or was he above the pit? And the snowy day, that would have made footing more difficult. It’s one thing to fight a lion. I wouldn’t do that. But in a pit, there is no running away. They only way out of a pit is to climb out. And, then, to make it more difficult, it’s a snowy day.
This is the kind of man that you want around you. He was more than talk. He had proven himself. He had earned the title, “a mighty man.” And, it was these men who surrounded David and protected him. David never had to fear that one of these men would rise up and attack him. These men were loyal, dedicated, committed and they loved David. On one occasion, David wished he could have some water that was in enemy territory. The mighty men snuck in and brought David some of that water. David poured it out. He couldn’t drink it knowing that his men had risked their lives just to bring him that water.
Mighty men. Proven men. Loyal men. Fighting beasts in a pit on a snowy day. And, this makes us take a look at who surrounds us. Do you have our own “mighty men?” Sometimes we feel compelled to have around us those who happen to have the same last name as ours. Family. Yet, they are not mighty, proven or loyal. Some drag us down. Some are leeches. Some wreck the good we are trying to do. But because they are family, we feel obligated to let them in our inner circle. I don’t go for that. If we are serious about Heaven, then our inner circle ought to be might men of God who will help us spiritually. The people who are honest and not just saying what we like to hear. The people who will push us and challenge us. The people who will give us an honest answer to our questions. The people who will keep us on track with the Lord. Without these mighty men we may not make it to Heaven. Without these dedicated servants of Christ, we may have given up long ago.
First, look within your congregation. Are there the people that you would call mighty men of God? Shepherds ought to be that. Preachers best be that. Do you have a connection and a bond with these? Can you talk freely? Do you have a relationship that can be deep, close, personal and spiritual? This is a good starting point. Men who have the scars of experience. Men who have been in battles. Men who have fought lions in pits on a snowy day. If you have that, build that relationship. Make it a point to get with your mighty man once a month. Go to lunch. Talk. Share. Grow.
Second, look beyond your congregation. Our beloved Dee often said, “It’s not a small world, it’s a big family.” And, so it is. Maybe in the congregation you attend, there is not that one person that you really need. Don’t give up. God’s family is large. Look in other congregations. Look beyond the borders of your state. Because of texting, cell phones, facetime, and emails, distance doesn’t matter anymore. You need that mighty man of God in your life. You need one that you can count upon. It may be a preacher in another place. It may be a spiritual friend who lives states away. Connect. Work out to meet that person. Share your story.
Third, be available for others. You may not find anyone in your congregation that you’d call your mighty man, but someone else may see you that way. They need to talk. They need to connect. You be that person for them. In you, they seem someone who has weathered storms, raised kids, been through hardships, buried parents, fought diseases and you have remained steadfast, strong and influential. You have proven yourself to be a mighty man. You may not think of yourself that way, but others see you like that. They are impressed with you. They would like to be like you.
As I write these words I think about my mighty men that surround me. People near and people far—but they have common characteristics. They are strong spiritually. They’d lay down their lives for Jesus. They have proven to be helpful, honest and loving. I have benefitted so much from these heroes of God.
You need this in your life. It will make a difference.
In a pit on a snowy day, killing a lion. Remarkable. And, what others are doing today, is also remarkable.