Setting the Captive Free (Creating Heroes)

And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.  1 Samuel 22:2

     Today we would look at many of those that are poor and experiencing homelessness in much of the same way that we would look at these men.  These hurting and outcast men were drawn to David.  They were not good wholesome men.  Yet they were drawn to this man who was reported to have a heart like God’s.  These men were not drawn to a church service or a program.  They were drawn to a man who loved God first.

    This is a man who worshiped with his whole being.  When was the last time that you totally and completely gave yourself over to worship.  On at least one occasion his wife was embarrassed by his energy and enthusiasm.  Most of us check the box.  We sing a few songs. More accurately we lip synch a song or two.  If we are lucky we might clap or join in on the chorus.  But do we worship freely and with all of our heart.

    This was a man that was not held back by fear.  Most men that I know are owned by fear.  The more successful often the more fear.  Of course they are afraid they have much comfort to lose.  But David risked it all for the Kingdom of God.  Raising the sheep while not pleasant and often had its own downsides as all jobs do, was predictable.  There was nobody coming and giving him grief over estates or burning his cousin’s field.  No tempting women bathing on rooftops to lead a man astray.  But David took the risk.  He battled the lion, the bear, Goliath and countless armies.  David fought.  He was not a wimp.  He was a man of courage and boldness.

    This was a man who was flawed but knew how to repent.  His mistakes are historical facts that tarnished his overall record.  His sins cost him peace, cost him family and even cost him his own ability to confront sin in his own family.  But he strove to make things right.

    This man drew the outcasts to himself.  He does not look at them that way.  Instead he worked to help them transform into the men that God called them to be.  That would be the Mighty Men that we hear more about later in the scriptures.

     My friends the men and women who are currently our outcasts (the homeless, the addicted the returning citizens) they all have potential to be mighty men or women in our communities.  They can thrive but only if we help them to see themselves as something more than losers, addicts, felons or the like.  When you give them handouts you are treating them like people to be pitied.  Raise them up and offer them hope and let them know that your help is dependent on them coming out and becoming a part of the community where the give and take, strengthens us and empowers us to become better.