David said, “When a lion or a bear took a lamb from my flock, I attacked it and rescued the lamb. So, this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them. Yahweh, who delivered me from the lion and the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:34–37
David was successful against lions or bears or Goliaths because he stepped forward and took his shot. However, he attributed his success not to his courage or his prowess with a slingshot but to God’s grace, God’s Rescuing And Caring Exertion on his behalf. The Apostle Paul would “not dare to speak of anything except what Christ had accomplished through [him] in bringing about the obedience of the Gentiles … in the power of the Spirit of God.” So he said, “I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” To be successful, we must go and do the work necessary for success, but because we are, in the larger scheme of things, “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away,” we ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” With this attitude, we can freely and eagerly work hard. But we still need to heed the warning God gave the people of Israel before he enabled their success: “When you are satisfied, and have built good houses, and all that you have multiplies, do not let your heart will become proud and say, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’”
Gracious Lord, grant me courage and energy and humility so that I have something to boast about in relationship to you.