Dearly Beloved in Christ,
I was watching "Sunday Night Football" the other day with three of my friends - something I don't get to do too often. I realized that I'm a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers' third string, now turned starting quarterback, Devlin Hodges. Hodges' nickname is "the duck," due to his uncanny ability to reproduce duck sounds for the purposes of hunting. But Hodges also referred to himself as "duck" while attempting to describe his own personality. On the surface, he looks calm and collected, but underneath it all, he is paddling like crazy!
This is precisely what we need in today's world in terms of leadership. Someone who can keep everyone else calm while working hard beneath the surface to create incremental success and keep others afloat for the good of the whole. My guess is that Hodges carries a burden sometimes, although he is surrounded by good teammates. My guess is that he feels that he may be carrying the weight of his team on his shoulders at times, but he is willing to rise to the challenge.
This week we will be looking at the biblical character of Jonathan, son of King Saul, and friend of David, who would become king himself. Jonathan had duck-like tendencies. He understood what it meant to remain calm in the Lord while facing adversity. He took on the weight and burden of others and was willing to lay down his own will for the sake of the whole-the kingdom of Israel, and ultimately, the kingdom of God. Jonathan was not one who needed praise and "basking in the limelight," but was instead content building up others as a service to his community. More than anything, Jonathan was the ultimate teammate and friend to David-the same David whom God chose to represent Israel as king, and through whom Jesus, the messiah, would come. But for all the connections that Jesus has to his ancestor David, in the Bible passages we will look at this Sunday, it is Jonathan who enacts the heart and character of Christ: self-sacrifice, servanthood, loyalty, friendship, and even the willingness to receive pain and suffering for the sake of submission to God's will.
Please join us this Sunday morning as we explore these ideas, and more, from the Psalms and I Samuel.
In the meantime, we'll all do our best "duck" impersonations this week, all in service to our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
God's blessings in Christ's name to you all,