Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling
Continuing our four-part series that examines Samuel’s anointing of David (1 Samuel 16:1-13), this month were are looking at the third step to anointing the next generation: confirm in community (versus 12-13). The author tells us that Eli retrieved David per Samuel’s command and anointed him in the midst of his brothers: And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. Verses 4-5 state that Samuel instructed the elders of the community to take part as well. So why was it important to confirm David in front of his family and community? David would need their support, and they would need to be reminded that David was God’s anointed—like when he later appeared at the battle line against Goliath and annoyed his eldest brother, Eliab, with God-talk about certain victory (1 Sa 17:28).
It was also important to confirm the Son of God in community. At Jesus’ baptism, John and the crowd witnessed the Holy Spirit descend on him (Matt 3:16) and the Father affirmed his love and pleasure for his Son (Matt 3:17). Similar to Eliab, John the Baptist, when imprisoned by Herod, would have his doubts about whether Jesus was the Anointed One (Matt 11:2-3). Hence, the anointed and those who anoint equally benefit from the support of community to keep us on track when life’s challenges erode our faith.
Beyond biblical examples, Joni Earekson Tada provides for us a modern-day example of the importance and power of community. A diving accident as a teenager left Joni a quadriplegic. With feelings of hopelessness, she simply wanted to die. Yet, with the help of community, she grew in her faith and eventually found the strength and courage to launch a non-profit ministry to equip paralyzed children in third-world countries with wheelchairs. She has already traveled more miles as a quadriplegic than most us will in a lifetime. Along the way of this new journey of life, Joni met and married Ken Tada. While both are committed Christians, it hasn’t been easy over these past thirty-five years. Pressing through feelings of being trapped (Joni in her pain-racked body and Ken in a 24/7 caregiving relationship) they are now mutual admirers and best friends—and this only because of community support. Watch this video to hear their story. It is a testimony to the power of anointing the next generation in community!