John the Baptist, Apostle of Joy

Birth of John the Baptist

June 24th is the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. It would seem strange to our secular world that he would be called the Apostle of Joy. 

St. John was a prophet during the time of Jesus. He lived in the desert wearing clothes of camel hair and ate locusts and wild honey. John was in his early thirties when he was beheaded by King Herod at the behest of Herod’s wife. His head was presented to Herodias on a silver platter, leaving John’s disciples to come and collect the rest of his body.

How did John come to be called an “apostle of joy”? What was joyful about his short and difficult life? 

By the time I was about 5 or 6 years old, I knew that I was loved, that my grandparents had come from Sicily to make a life in the United States. I knew that my mom had been orphaned at age 4 and lived until age 17 in a Catholic orphanage in Charleston, SC. I knew that my parents had met during World War II, though I had no idea what that war was about. I had a younger sister at that age with another one on the way.

So I started thinking about John the Baptist. What did he know by the age of 5 or 6? I imagine John being told early in his life what a blessing he was. I imagine that John knew that his mother, Elizabeth, had long been unable to have children. I imagine that John was told that the angel Gabriel visited his father Zechariah as his father worked in the Temple in Jerusalem, announcing to Zechariah that he would soon have a son.

In my mind’s eye I can see John, holding his father’s hand, as Zechariah shows him the Temple and points out where God’s angel spoke with him so long ago. I imagine John knew that Zechariah didn’t believe the angel and was struck mute until John’s birth. I am sure that John was told what the angel said about this soon to be born son, about how he would be great in the eyes of the world. I am also sure that Zechariah repeated the prophecy he had been given about what John would do during his life and that prophecy was repeated often and remembered by John and his parents.

We don’t know when John’s parents died, how long they had had the joy of knowing their son. When we next meet John in the Bible stories, he is preaching in the Judean desert, a foreboding and mysterious place not far from the Qumran community and the Dead Sea. Scholars expect that John spent some time with the community as the Bible says that he lived in the desert before he began to preach.

Joseph, the Long Distance Walker

“There were three ancient pilgrimage feasts that all male Israelites thirteen and older attended: Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the spring, Pentecost, the Feast of weeks, about fifty days later and sukkot, the Feasts of Booths or Tabernacles, in the fall. Each feast lasted a week, and men traveled to Jerusalem for the celebration, often with their families. From Nazareth to Jerusalem is about a hundred miles, about five days of walking. Thus, the feast, including travel time, took nearly three weeks…women and children were not obligated to attend… but it was the custom of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to go to Jerusalem together for Passover….People traveled to these feasts in large groups of family and townspeople forming caravans.” (Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, Marcellino d”Ambrosio, Ascension Press, 2020)

St Joseph

One hundred miles each way – and we are told two hundred and fifty miles from Bethlehem to Egypt, then three hundred and fifty miles on the return trip from Egypt to Nazareth. I have been thinking about this distance and the difficulties of making the journey for St. Joseph, his wife Mary and their infant son, Jesus, since I read the words.

We first learn of Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2. There is a census decreed by the Roman authorities. Joseph is required to return to the place of his family origins, which is Bethlehem the city of David, about three miles from Jerusalem. Mary, now nine months pregnant, travels with Joseph. While a healthy man might be able to walk twenty miles a day, Mary probably cannot. We assume that Mary rode quite a bit of the way on the back of a donkey, a common mode of transportation during that time. Riding on the back of a donkey was not the most comfortable travel arrangement for a woman about to give birth.

The area through which Joseph and Mary traveled was not hospitable. Although Galilee was a farming area ,much of the remaining landscape between Galilee and Jerusalem was desert and mountain terrain. Did the couple travel with others from their hometown of Nazareth? How did Joseph and Mary carry enough supplies, such as food and water, for themselves and the donkey? Where did they find water if they used what they had brought? There were no monitored rest stops along the way – something that folks in our own time expect, providing food and a place to stay. If the couple did not travel with a group, was there a possibility of thieves and other miscreants to be concerned about? Did the couple sleep out in the open or was it possible to carry a tent with them to be sheltered for the night? We assume that Mary and Joseph carried whatever supplies that they would need for the birth of their Son as well as clean clothing for themselves. Unless Mary and Joseph traveled with more than one donkey, they were severely limited in what they could carry. Given the timing of this trip, Mary and Joseph had time to make plans and prepare and perhaps find others who would go with them.

Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem

After the birth of Jesus the Magi arrived in Jerusalem looking for the new King of the Jews. Directed by King Herod to go to Bethlehem, where prophecy says He will be born, the Magi find the Holy Family living in a “house”, according to the Gospel of Matthew. Being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, the Magi leave Bethlehem by a different route. We can assume the Purification rites for Mary had been performed by this time – 40 days after Jesus’ birth. Once the census crowds had left the area, perhaps there was more opportunity for the Holy Family to find lodging. Joseph then receives a message in a dream from an angel, as he did before his marriage to Mary. This new message directs Joseph to take the little family to Egypt for safety, as Herod seeks to kill the new born Jesus.

Joseph and Mary pack quickly and take Jesus on a desperate flight to Egypt, leaving at night. The distance is 250 miles. Assuming that the family still has the donkey to assist them, they must carry enough supplies to make the journey. The trip will take more than two weeks, again over inhospitable territory and desert terrain. Tthe route from Jerusalem to Egypt is likely well traveled by merchants and caravans of goods, but are there recognizable stops along the way where water and food is available? Is the route well marked? Has Joseph made the journey before? The Bible doesn’t tell us.

Traveling with an infant or small child makes the journey even more difficult. Is Mary able to walk any distance at this point? Does she carry the child in her arms or on her back? Do Mary and the child ride on the donkey? Is there room for both mother and child on the donkey with all the water, food and clothing they must carry? How dangerous is the journey? If this is a caravan route, no doubt thieves and other miscreants travel this way as well. Do Mary and Joseph have adequate money to purchase what they need when they arrive in Egypt? Will Joseph be able to find work and lodging once they arrive at their destination?

I imagine Mary hastily filling water bags and stuffing food and clothing in cloth bags before they leave Bethlehem, while Joseph gets the donkey and other supplies ready for the trip. Are Mary and Joseph frightened about the journey ahead of them? Do they meet up with other travelers on the way? Is there anyone who can help them, as they make this perilous dash to safety?

I have thought of trips that my husband and I took, of the weeks of preparation, carefully planning the route, what we would take with us, and mapping out places to spend the night. The roads are all paved; there are supplies along the way and we travel comfortably in a car or other vehicle. Comparing our travels with Mary and Joseph, our trips were “a walk in the park”. And yet we were often fatigued as we traveled, unsatisfied with the night’s lodging or the food we purchased to eat. Our bones and muscles ached from the long hours spent driving and sitting. When we arrived at our destination, we were exhausted.

Mary and Joseph were young,healthy and strong. They had taken these kinds of journeys multiple times during their lives, and yet the journeys had to be difficult. Joseph, as a tecton or builder with stone and wood, was, no doubt, physically very strong to provide the protection for Mary and the child and to care for them and the donkey on their journeys. And yet even for the young, travel takes its toll on the body and the spirit.

Our faith instructs us that God provides for us when we follow the path He has placed before us. Even if the path is difficult and beyond our ability to complete by our own power, we can have confidence that God is with us and has prepared the way ahead of us, that He will provide assistance when we need it. Did Mary and Joseph travel with that knowledge of God’s loving care? 

Simon Peter

An opening reflection for one session of the WCSS study

As I began to study this lesson, I wondered how often Simon Peter is mentioned in the Gospels, and in addition, how often are his words recorded? In the Gospel of Matthew, Peter is mentioned 13 times, but he speaks only 8 times. Peter is mentioned 9 times in the Gospel of Mark, and speaks 5 times. In the Gospel of Luke, Peter is mentioned 9 times and speaks 8 times, that is, almost every time his name is mentioned. Peter appears 10 times in the Gospel of John and speaks 6 times. There are 14 different episodes among all the Gospels in which Simon Peter speaks – some of the episodes in one Gospel are repeated in others.

We are told in the Gospel of John that Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother,, and the evangelist John were disciples of John the Baptist and met Jesus through him – if you remember, John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Look, there is the Lamb of God…” So Andrew and John followed Jesus and spent the day with Him. Afterwards, Andrew introduced his brother Simon to Jesus, announcing to Simon, “we have found the Messiah”.

The earliest episode in the Lord’s ministry in which Simon Peter speaks is in the Gospel of Luke 5:1-11: “Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, Jesus asked Simon to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” Have you wondered why Simon said what he did?Why did Simon call Jesus Master?  “When they had lowered the nets, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. The others came and filled both boats, so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.””

The last episode in the Gospels in which Simon Peter speaks is in the Gospel of John, Chapter 21 – here is just a little extract from that chapter: “Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias(Galilee)…Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael of Cana, the sons of Zebedee and two others of the disciples. Peter said to them, “I am going fishing”. They said to him, “we will go with you.” As I understand it, Simon’s boat was too large for one man to comfortably man it. Unfortunately, the men caught nothing that night. “ Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach and called to the men in the boat, “children, have you caught anything?….” At Jesus direction there was another miraculous catch of fish, and then the men recognize the Lord. Later after preparing and feeding breakfast to the men, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him, and Peter responds “yes, Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you”. Jesus then gives Peter his final commission to lead the Church.

In between these two episodes, Simon Peter’s life is busy – and full of wonder and mystery. Simon becomes a disciple of Jesus and listens as Jesus is preaching; Simon is taught by Jesus both by His words and by His example. Simon Peter witnesses Jesus perform many miracles; he asks questions of Jesus and receives answers to his questions. Simon Peter sees Jesus walking on water and asks the Lord if he could join Him – an amazing act of courage. At Caesaria Phillipi Peter declares that Jesus is the Son of God when Jesus asks the men the question, “Who do you say I am?”. Six days later Peter sees Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah – all three men have been transfigured with glorified bodies on Mt. Thabor. At the Last Supper Simon Peter has his feet washed by Jesus and then he shares Jesus’ last meal with Him and the other Apostles. Later that same night Simon Peter falls asleep in Gethsemane, even though Jesus had asked him to stay awake and watch while He prays. After Jesus is arrested, Peter denies 3 times that he knows Jesus. Not many hours later Simon Peter witnesses Jesus’ crucifixion (from afar I believe – there is a hint of this in 1 Peter:5 and a book I read last year – “What Jesus saw from the Cross”). Three days after Jesus’ death, Peter visits the empty tomb. Later that day he sees and speaks with the resurrected Lord. Simon Peter is present when Jesus ascends into heaven. 

What an amazing journey Simon Peter had in those three years of Jesus’ ministry! And perhaps in between those events, Peter would go home, fish a little, earn some money to keep his family going a while longer, and then return to traveling with Jesus and the group of Apostles and disciples.

There is one thing that I have never found written about in the Gospels. What about all those nights Jesus and the Apostles spent under the stars, around a campfire, just talking? Surely, there were many of those nights, as the small group traveled from town to town. Let’s close our eyes and imagine we are sitting around the campfire with Jesus and the Apostles — it is night; in the darkness and the quiet, there are the sounds of small animals scurrying around searching for food, there is the damp smell of evening and the friendly crackle of the campfire. Hear their soft voices as they talk about the events of the day, of what impressed them or made them laugh or cry, or perhaps they ask the Lord questions about what they witnessed that day. The men are sharing simple meals of bread, fish and fruit with Jesus, the same hard, uneven ground for their beds, the same view of the night sky sprinkled with stars, as they all drift off to sleep. It was in those quiet places, around those campfires, that Simon Peter and the other Apostles fell in love with Jesus. It is in those campfire experiences that they found the courage to follow the Lord even unto death.  

And so it is with us, I think. As we grew and went to school, we heard stories from our parents and our teachers about Jesus. We listen even now as the priest, in his homily, instructs us about our Lord. We have witnessed over our many years Jesus’ work in our lives, the beauty He has spread around us, the prayers He has answered, sometimes in ways we never would have imagined. But it is in those moments that we spend quietly with the Lord, when we study our lessons or just read our Bibles, when we take a quiet walk in the morning, when we sit in the Adoration Chapel or in our favorite chair at home just talking with Jesus and listening for His response, that we fall in love with the One, who loved us so much that He gave up everything, even His life, for us.

My wish and prayer for you this beautiful Christmas season is that you will have quiet time to spend with the Lord. May your love for our Incarnate Lord grow even more. May God bless you with His presence and His goodness. May you be surrounded by friends and family, and may you know God’s unimaginable and eternal love for you. May God keep you safe in your travels this Christmas season and bring you back again to our study after the new year begins.

John 3:22-30 John The Baptist

john the baptistAfter Nicodemus visits in the night, Jesus and the Apostles go into the Judean countryside. Jesus spends time with His disciples teaching them. The men share conversations, the same meals around a blazing fire, the same hard ground to sleep, the sight of the same starry nights. They are all getting to know one another and the Lord. Bonds of friendship are being formed.

The scene then changes to John the Baptist. He has baptized Jesus but still retains some followers. Why did the evangelist change the scene? What does he hope to accomplish in this place? To restate who Jesus is? Jesus is not an itinerant preacher – there may have been many over the years in Israel. Jesus is the Messiah, the One who was promised so long ago. Jesus is the bridegroom while Israel is the bride.

John seems content in knowing that he has fulfilled his mission – he has prepared the way for Jesus and will continue to do so as long as God allows. But John knows that he will fade away. Perhaps already the number of people coming to John is dropping off. Perhaps the authorities no longer come to question him as they once did.

When a question arises about whether John’s baptism or Jesus’ is more perfect, though it is not Jesus baptizing but His disciples, John relates that “No one can receive anything except what has been given from above.”

Purification to the Jews was an important part of their faith. Baptism by John was part of that process for those who underwent his baptism.

The passage ends with the statement by John, “He must increase, I must decrease.” What does that say to me – Jesus must continue to grow in my life. Other will take the stage and shine more than me. This is how it must be for me as well for in time, like my sisters, my life will be no more.

Canticle of Zechariah

zechariah
Blessed be the Lord,
The God of Israel;
He has come to His people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
Born of the house of His servant David.

Through His holy prophets He promised of old
That He would save us from our enemies,
From the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our fathers
And to remember His holy Covenant.

This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham:
To set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship Him without fear,
Holy and righteous in His sight
All the days of our life.

You, My child shall be called
The prophet of the Most High,
For you will go before the Lord to prepare His way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our Lord
The dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness
And the shadow of death,
And to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning.
is now, and will be forever.

Amen.

It occurred to me this morning that this canticle is a short history of salvation. I have written about this canticle in other places on this blog, but I don’t think I have recognized this important fact. The canticle starts by saying that God has remembered his promise of a savior from Genesis and then takes us through the promise made to Abraham and the patriarchs all the way to John the Baptist. Then the final stanza is a song of joy at what God has accomplished.

March 28, 2017 I have wondered why there seemed to be a repeat about God’s promises. I realized this morning that the promises are not repeated. The first mention of the promises is reflected from the prophets, but then the promise to Abraham is recited. It seems just a small thing, but it is not. Our Father is a “Father who keeps His promises.”

Zechariah’s Canticle Part 2

 

john-the-baptist…”You, My child shall be called
The prophet of the Most High,
For you will go before the Lord to prepare His way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins.”

Thinking about this, this morning – John the Baptist in the wilderness. Somehow people heard about John- probably travelers saw and heard him, then spoke of him in the marketplaces, with their friends. “A strange and wild man,” they might have said,” living on locusts and wild honey, dressed in animal skins with a rope around his waist.” Why would someone want to go see him? Curiosity, maybe, but with lives as difficult as they were, why take the time to see? Entertainment? How many had time for this? The elites, of course, those who knew the Law and the Prophets – they were waiting, after all, for the Messiah – this was the predicted time. But ordinary people who by the sweat of their brows put food upon their family’s table?

Those ordinary folks who did go out to see John the Baptist – perhaps there was a longing in their hearts, a sense of their own unworthiness, a need to feel closer to God, and yes, a sense of curiosity and wonder. Jews knew their history; they were all waiting for God to bring them freedom.

And what did they find when they made the journey to the wilderness – a wild man, just as their friends had said. A man with a booming voice and a frightening message. “Repent!” No doubt some walked away, thinking that they had been entertained, or maybe some were disappointed. But to those who stayed, who heard John’s message, who submitted to his baptism – what did they experience? Was there an inner sense of freedom, a rekindling of their love for the Lord, a sense of wonder, of God’s closeness to them? And were they prepared when Jesus came on the scene? Were these people more open to the message of Jesus because of John’s work?

I would say “yes”, though of course, I have no proof. God comes to us in mysterious ways -sometimes we feel His presence in a word, an action by ourselves or others, by the way the morning light sculpts the branches of the trees or sparkles on the wet leaves. Each time we open our hearts to these moments, I think we become more open to the next “visit”.

Lovely morning this morning, though a bit cold. I have noticed the sunsets lately – they seem to be prettier than I remember – soft, pretty colors.

Zechariah and Elizabeth

Luke 1:5:25

Poppies and pots watercolor F. McDonald

Zechariah was a priest (Levite), Elizabeth, his wife a descendant of Aaron, also a Levite

The Bible says that both were righteous, living blamelessly but they had no children, which at that time was said to be a curse or condemnation from God.

“…once when he (Zechariah) was serving as priest (in the Temple), he was chosen by lot to offer incense in the sanctuary…the whole assembly of the people were praying outside…”Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard.” (the angel Gabriel spoke to Zechariah)…” After serving his time in the Temple, Elizabeth conceived a child, even though both she and Zechariah were old. “for five months Elizabeth remained in seclusion.”

Two elderly people doing their best to serve their Lord, yet for all the joy and goodness of their lives together, they had no children. They persisted in honoring God. When Elizabeth conceives, did she wonder how and why? Did Zechariah tell Elizabeth about the angel’s message? Did Elizabeth believe that her days were now filled with wonder?

So many questions which the Bible does not answer.

Blind Bartimeus

Blind Bartimeus

The Gospel reading for today is from Mark, chapter 10, verses 46-52. I love this story, partly because I can so readily imagine it.

Jesus, after leaving Jericho with His followers and a large crowd, a blind man, Bartimeus, starts to call after Jesus. The crowd tries to shush him. But Bartimeus won’t be silenced. He continues to call for the Lord’s help. Finally, when Jesus hears Bartimeus’ call, He orders His disciples to bring Bartimeus to Him. “So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you”. Bartimeus threw aside his cloak, sprang up and came to Jesus”.

Imagine that. With joy and expectation, Bartimeus throws off his old life, everything that was keeping him in his present state, and runs to the Lord. Oh, that I could be like Bartimeus when Jesus calls!

An evening with Jesus and Nicodemus

It is the dark of an early spring evening. In the warm, still air are the soft scents of flowers blooming and the sounds of small animals moving in the night. Jesus and the Apostles are reclined around the table.  In twos and threes the Apostles recount the events of the day, quietly talking and laughing, enjoying one another as close friends do. I listen to their voices, as I clean up from the meal which has been prepared for the Master and his companions. I can see that Jesus is tired from the day’s work. He has taught in the Temple and healed all who came to Him. Still the Master’s eyes are clear and lively, and He listens intently to the conversations around Him, smiling and laughing as well, occasionally making a remark or answering a question.

There is a knock at the outer door of the courtyard. Andrew, one of the twelve, gets up to answer the knock. Who could be here so late? It is unusual for visitors to come after dark looking for Jesus. Andrew returns with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a leader among the members of the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus is a learned and respected man, well known for his knowledge and devotion to God’s law and to the faith of our people. He looks around the room and his eyes rest on Jesus, who motions to Nicodemus to recline next to him. Nicodemus begins to speak words which he has thoughtfully considered, as he walked to this house where Jesus and his friends are staying. “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”   Nicodemus has been watching Jesus and listening to Him intently as Jesus preaches in the Temple. I wonder who is the “we” Nicodemus speaks about. Has the Sanhedrin met to discuss Jesus? Are there others among these leaders of our people who want to follow the Master too?  Nicodemus has recognized that Jesus is a teacher, a man who should be respected, for he has come to speak and listen to the Master without the distraction of the crowds which constantly follow Jesus.

The Master’s response to Nicodemus is strange, for Nicodemus did not ask a question, but made a statement, much as a man would make to begin a conversation with someone who isn’t well known to him. “Very truly, I tell you”, Jesus begins, “no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”  Jesus has once again looked into the heart of the man seated before Him and saw the questions which Nicodemus was intent on asking. “Who are you? Why are you here? Are you the Messiah, the One who has been promised for ages?”

Their conversation continues for some time before Nicodemus rises and leaves. Jesus then turns and looks at me, for He has seen me standing quietly in the shadows, watching and listening. Jesus invites me to sit before him now. What questions will I ask? Since the Lord can see my heart, what unspoken questions will He answer?

David and Goliath – a book by Malcolm Gladwell

I spoke with a friend last evening. I spoke with her about how our Bible Study was going. One of her children had given her the book “David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell. I had never heard of the author or the book, so I looked it up on Amazon and read some from the sample.

Gladwell describes himself as a Christian. The book entitled “David and Goliath” is not actually about those two characters. From the Amazon review: “In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.”

While I was able to read just a small portion of the book as a sample, I noticed an obvious error. He describes ancient armies as having three kinds of warriors – cavalry, infantry with swords and “slingers” such as David might have been called. Israel’s army in the time of Saul had no cavalry, no horses, no chariots. Their Law given by Moses expressly forbid the use or ownership of horses. Their kings rode mules while the common folk rode donkeys. Horses came from Egypt, a land and people who had once enslaved them. When Israel captured horses, later in David’s reign, the horses were destroyed or rendered incapable of military use. Israel infantry carried spears and bows, perhaps even cudgels and knives of course. As for the slingers, I do not know, although I expect there were some – it would make sense to use any weapon that was available. David was a warrior, though not in the usual sense, though after he killed Goliath he was taken into Saul’s army. David, as the youngest, was used to protect his father’s flocks, spending long weeks far away from settlements, fighting against animals and perhaps even men who would have attacked the flocks and providing for his own sustenance. He would have had a knowledge of the land and have developed a skill with his weapons – a staff, a knife and a slingshot, perhaps even a spear and bow.

Gladwell makes some assumptions about Goliath which may or may not be true based on medical knowledge of “giantism”. What Gladwell doesn’t mention is that there was a “tribe” of giants who inhabited the land of the Philistines, and these individuals were often used in the Philistines battles with others. Whether they were all medical anomalies or not, I have no knowledge.

I am assuming that Gladwell means well by using the story, which is as much as part of our culture as any story is. But what I think he fails to see is that the story of David and Goliath is more about one man’s faith that God was on his side, and that with God on his side, he could not fail. I would have preferred that he not use this story to title his book, though I understand why he did – the story appeals to many of us.

Gladwell’s premise is interesting in that we shouldn’t think  that our size, our education or lack of it, or our family wealth or societal advantages keeps us from achieving our goals. Those very things which society says are disadvantages can be used to our advantage. The story that comes most to my mind is the story of William Wallace of Scotland. Here was a man who was fighting for Scotland’s freedom from oppression against one of the greatest powers of his day – King Edward and the army of England. Wallace came very close to winning, a task which was later completed by Robert Bruce. Wallace used knowledge of his people and their ways and the very land of Scotland to battle against England’s better equipped and larger forces.

In studying David for our Scripture Study I have come to recognize that David worked long and hard to obtain the kingship that was promised to him. He learned much about fighting, about being a king and leading people. But mostly David always asked the Lord’s help before beginning any new venture. To me that is an important lesson about success.