Slingshot in Hand

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash

We all know the story told in today's first reading: that of a boy named David who, armed with nothing but a slingshot and a stone, shoots down a giant Philistine named Goliath. It's a pretty impressive feat, and one that's called upon often to encourage us to fight in the face of impossible odds.

Well, I don't know about you... but if someone sent me into battle in David's day with only a slingshot and a stone, I'd probably say, "Um. Aren't you forgetting something?" I'd think about all of the other soldiers who have ever gone off to fight, donning protective armor and sporting swords. I'd think of how much more experienced than me they all were. I'd think of how much taller and more muscular than me they all were. If I were going to have any chance to succeed, I'd have to be like them, I'd think.

Then I'd probably cry.

Most definitely, I would run.

So you can see how this scenario would not have had the same inspiring end if it were me.

Fortunately, David doesn't indulge in the comparison game, even though Saul tempts him to: "You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth." (1 Sm 17:33, NAB) You'll never compete, kid. Might as well give up now.

But David insists the Lord will keep him safe, and Saul relents: "Go! The Lord will be with you." (1 Sm 17:37, NAB)

And David goes and shoots Goliath right between the eyes with one of his stones: "Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck the Philistine dead, and did it without a sword in his hand." (1 Sm 17:50, NAB)

Mic drop.

But this isn't just a story for young, small, or weak people who need to know they can stand up against giants. This is a story for all of us who might feel we don't have enough to complete the mission God has set before us -- a mission that nobody else can fulfill.

Henri Nouwen writes, "We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can... We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do." (Bread for the Journey, January 17 reflection)

We are good enough to do what we are called to do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it this way: "There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that."

So, friends: be brave today. And don't worry about whether or not someone is stronger or faster or more experienced than you. Or has more followers on social media. Or has a more impressive resume, or the kind of job you want, or the family you wish you had, or (fill in the blank with your own answer). 

Just bring your slingshot and take your giant down anyway. "Be who you are, and be that well," as St. Francis de Sales once said.

You are good enough to do what you are called to do.

Now get out there.  


  1. "We are good enough to do what we are called to do." Writing that in my planner so I can see it all the time. Thank you!!

    1. You’re welcome, Ashley!! Don’t forget it. :)