“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.” – 1 Samuel 18:1-5
Over the last few months, I’ve been obsessed with the relationship between Jonathan and David and how it plays into loving God first, loving his people second, and me coming in last. Every time I read it I am blown away, by both the giving and the receiving exhibited. Jonathan loved David as “his own soul”. They were not related. They had no history. They hadn’t grown together as boys. They didn’t catch frogs or play games or tip sheep. But, yet, Jonathan loved David so much he gave up his own birthright as heir to the throne, and all the luxuries that go with it. Because of Jonathan’s selfless love for David, David was “successful” .
I know that God’s word calls me to put other people first, but the idea of that was always much milder in my mind in comparison to what Jonathan did. If I truly love God’s people more than myself, I would want better for them than I do for myself. Do I really want my neighbors to have a better car than me? A better career than me? A better financial plan? Do I want their kids to go to better schools than mine, have more opportunities, a wider range of lunch choices? Do I pray and long for them to surpass me? Do I want them to have better pregnancies? Easier deliveries? Babies who sleep from the get-go? do I want their husbands to have better schedules? Their families to have less misunderstandings? How about in the things I think I’m gifted in? Do I want to my friends to be better teachers, singers, writers, cooks, friends?
You know the answer.
I’ve never stripped myself of my robe to give to someone who wasn’t just going to borrow it for a while. Jonathan watched David walk away wearing the clothes and the armor, and wielding the sword that rightfully belonged to him. He did so with a full and a happy heart, because it was “knit” to David’s. He had everything to give, and he did. He loved David as his own soul.
Do you love people that way?