In today’s reading from 1 Samuel, we get the popular story of David and Goliath.  I love this story.  In some ways, I love it because of how different it really is from the version we learn as children.  We always hear about how David defeats Goliath, but we don’t always hear about the trash talk… or the part where David chops off Goliath’s head.  That somehow ends up censored in the Sunday school version.  The part I want to reflect on today, though, is the part where Saul tries to dress David in his armor before he goes out to face the Philistine.

Saul doesn’t really want David to go out and fight Goliath because David is just a boy with no military training, and Goliath has been in the military since before David was born.  It seems like an incredible mismatch, but David is insistent.  So, Saul gives David his bronze helmet and a coat of mail, and, I imagine, pats David on the head because it’s the last time he’s ever going to see the boy.

However, David does not feel comfortable wearing the armor.  He’s never worn armor before, and he doesn’t want to start now.  David doesn’t want to be constrained by the way things are “supposed” to be.  He doesn’t want to have to conform his fighting style to the traditional way of doing things.  Instead, he thinks outside of the box, and wins the victory as we all know.  There’s a lot that we can learn from David and how it relates to the Church, but I think the biggest thing we can learn it this:

Think outside of the box.

If David had fought Goliath in the traditional way, he would have been slaughtered.  He may have put up a good fight for a while, but let’s be realistic.  Goliath was an experienced fighter.  He was well-armed.  He could have defeated just about anybody in hand-to-hand combat.  Had David gone in there with armor and a sword, he would have been impaled by Goliath’s spear before he could even scratch the giant’s armor.  But, by thinking outside of the box, he was able to defeat his enemy.  In the church, we have our ways of doing things.  It’s worked for centuries, so why wouldn’t it work now, right?  Because the giant we are facing is an ever-changing, ever-evolving culture that is getting increasingly opposed to institutions and faith as it has been presented for the last several decades.  In order to continue reaching people for Christ in this type of world, we have to do things differently.  We have to be willing to think outside of the box and try some things that we’ve never tried before.

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