From the First Book of Samuel:
As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, give no further thought to them, for they have been found.
(From the Daily Office Lectionary – 1 Samuel 9:20 (NRSV) – June 29, 2013.)
This advice not to worry about his donkeys is given by Samuel to Saul when Saul arrives at Ramah. It seems oddly out of place. Saul has been sent by God to Samuel, and God has informed Samuel that the man he will have sent to him is to be king over Israel. So Saul has had his cook set aside a special portion of meat and otherwise prepared to meet and anoint the man who would one day rule the country. Samuel comes to the town where he expects to find the man of God, and this statement is part of their first conversation:
Saul approached Samuel inside the gate, and said, “Tell me, please, where is the house of the seer?” Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer; go up before me to the shrine, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, give no further thought to them, for they have been found. And on whom is all Israel’s desire fixed, if not on you and on all your ancestral house?”
Again, the admonition about the donkeys seems oddly out of place. And, yet, I don’t think it is.
I think it’s Samuel’s way of telling Saul, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” The lost donkeys are not important. They don’t matter right now; they have bigger, more important business to take care of. We all have bigger, more important business to take care of, yet we often get hung up worrying about missing donkeys. As Samuel has told Saul, someone else is seeing to them. Give them no further consideration; focus on what’s important!
So remember, give no further thought to your donkeys!
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Father Funston is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Medina, Ohio.