In A Tale of 3 Kings, A Study in Brokenness, Gene Edwards writes that God uses broken vessels. Why does God use broken vessels? Life’s trials break us and prepare us for service. God uses the hardships of our journey. He humbles us and gives us the ability to identify with others in pain.
David did not begin as a broken vessel. He was the youngest of seven brothers and spent his time taking care of his father’s sheep, alone with his Lord. He fed them, led them, protected them and comforted them. He was humble and blessed with a lovely voice, and skilled with a slingshot. In his solitude he had no one except the company of his flock and the presence of God to keep him company. It was on one of these ordinary days that an ordinary shepherd boy was called in from the pasture to meet with a not so ordinary man, the prophet of God, Samuel. It was there in that humble home that Samuel recognized David and anointed him as the next King of Judah. As expressed so eloquently by Edwards, “On that day, David was enrolled, not into the lineage of royalty, but into the school of brokenness”.
David’s course curriculum included: Killing Giants, Entertaining a King, Sleeping with One Eye Open, Trusting God Even When Things Look Pretty Bad, and Dodging Spears. Saul employed David as his personal musician in order to control his movement, hoping to prevent David from taking his throne. Saul attempted to have David killed in battle making him a weapons-bearer.. When Saul’s efforts failed he tried to convince his son Jonathan to betray his beloved friend David. Instead Jonathan pledged an oath to David and helped him escape.
In spite of all, David remained committed to respect and honor his King. He knew Saul had been appointed and anointed as King by God and refused to kill Saul when he had opportunity. David exhibited servant leadership even before he was officially the King. Regardless of circumstance, David stayed true to his Godly worldview. He forgave Saul and extended grace. He practiced humility, served his men, and shared his vision of God’s expectation for Judah.
The Impact of Worldview on Leadership
Saul on the other hand made leadership decisions based on what would advance his own interests. He made no effort to empower his followers and had no true altruistic service motives. Clearly his followers did not trust him because they saw him as coercive and feared rather than revered him.
A significant part of worldview and leadership is knowledge of and willingness to yield to “who” is in charge; in a biblical worldview that “Who” is God and in a secular worldview it is more accurately “Self”. Saul failed to align his heart with God’s which adversely affected his leadership ability. Although he was chosen by God and given everything he needed to be an effective and Godly leader, his lack of willingness to lay down his crown and align his leadership with God’s purposes, caused him to fail his people, fail his country and fail his God. Perhaps a bit of brokenness would have done Saul some good.
David displayed referent and expert power, based on his follower’s identification and fondness, and their perceptions of his competence. Because of David’s use of these power bases, his humility, agapao love, service, empowerment, and trust were all evident to his followers. Fierce loyalty and support was the result, even before he became King. David took care of his followers and met their needs. During David’s reign he enjoyed a successful kingdom that honored God. “David’s servant leadership changed the kingdom (organizational) culture (1King 15:17) (italics mine). David’s brokenness changed him and changed his followers. He was a broken vessel that God used in a mighty way.
Let us cherish the work God does in our lives. May we embrace our brokenness, and allow God to use it for His good.
 (Edwards, G., 1992)
 (Edelman, D., 1991)
 (Martin, J., 2012)
 (Crandell, D., 2013)
 (Gunn,D., 1991)
 (Northouse, 2013)
 (Crandell, 2013)
 (Petersen, E., 2006)