As I reading through 1 Samuel, I was struck by the interesting relationship Saul has with David.
After David defeats Goliath in chapter 17, King Saul takes David into his service, makes him commander of his armies and watches as David becomes increasingly more popular. People start writing songs about David and his victories, which really annoys Saul. Saul is jealous, afraid and threatened by David. Yet Saul needs David. You see, not only is David successful at winning battles and defeating Saul's enemies, but David is the one whose music can calm Saul when he's tormented with harmful spirits (1 Samuel 16:23).
How many people like this has God placed in our lives? You know who I'm talking about. The ones we're jealous of because they perform better, look nicer or have more than us. The people who command attention while we're ignored. Someone who annoys us just by being around.
Could it be that we need people like this?
That's a strange idea, but let's just go with it for a moment. Why might we need people like this who threaten us, frighten us or make us jealous?
For one thing, they can teach you something. If you want to succeed at something, you might just want to emulate someone who is successful in that area. You want to apprentice under someone who is really good at what they do, right? Thank goodness for those folks!
It's also humbling. It reminds you that you are no better than Saul, the first king of Israel who had the throne snatched away from his family in favor of someone who had a heart like God's (David). Someone more popular, more successful than me intrudes upon my self-righteousness, and rightly reminds me that the only thing I really have going for us is God's grace, not my performance.
They're also a reminder that you're annoying, too. You can go above and beyond helping someone, only to discover they don't appreciate your efforts at all. You've made them look lazy or incompetent by doing so much!
I don't like it, but I admit that I need people like that.