Misfit. Loser. Reject. Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit in? Or maybe people have told you all your life that you don’t belong, you aren’t like them, you're weird or odd; that you're just not like them. Sometimes you can know you’re different, and it makes you feel like maybe there is something wrong with you.
It could’ve been one of your parents who made you wonder if you even belonged in your family, or a teacher… or kids on the playground who teased you for being different. For some of us, there are some things that we just can’t do very well, things that seem easy for other people somehow. But we just can’t do those things as easily or as well as other people.
I’ve felt like that for a lot of my life. And really, feeling like an outcast isn't that uncommon. Some of us spend most of our lives trying to figure out where we fit in. We have this sense of misplaced identity, and wondering who we really are and what we are meant to be, and what we are meant to do in life.
It's more common than we realize. I was going through the guide on my TV the other night, trying to find something worth watching, and I was just scrolling through the descriptions of some of the different shows and movies.
Like, “A band of misfits is drawn together to save the earth from an alien invasion.” Nope, already seen that one. “A deadly virus is unleashed on the earth and the only ones who can save the world are a group of renegade scientists and a misfit doctor.” A crime wave is sweeping New York city and the police chief calls out a group of misfits and brings them back to the NYPD to save the city.” “A city doctor retires to a small New England village where he is a misfit veterinarian until a strange disease begins to afflict all the animals in town.”
I hadn’t realized how many shows and movies are built around misfits and how valuable they really are. The two definitions of “misfit” are first, "Something that’s the wrong size or shape for its purpose." And two, "a person who is unable to adjust to their environment or circumstances or is considered to be too different from others."
It's pretty easy to feel like a misfit, like we just can’t seem to fit in. We try and fail. We try to adapt and we can’t. So many times, we just decide to play along and pretend that we’re like everyone else, just to keep the peace. But inside, we know we're not really like them.
I have always been different. I used to pray and ask God why I couldn’t be like everybody else, and He told me that it's because He created me to reach people and do things in their lives and bring them things from God that no one else would bring them. I had to be different so I could BRING something different.
And I want to tell you, if you are a misfit, if you feel like a misfit, or have ever been called a misfit you’re in good company.
I was reading in the Book of First Samuel in the Bible. It was talking about the group of men that were being led by David, before he was king. King Saul was wanting to kill David. David had already been anointed to be king, by the prophet Samuel, but David wasn’t in the office of king yet. He was called. He was appointed. He was anointed. But he wasn't in place yet.
You might relate to that. Maybe God called you to do something many years ago, and it hasn’t happened yet. What can you do? Just keep being obedient and faithful, and keep learning and growing, and trust in God’s timing.
So, there in first Samuel chapter 22, verse 2, it describes the team that David had with him. Not exactly a bunch of heroes. No, they were more like a bunch of misfits. They sound like some of the groups of misfits that Hollywood has put together for their epic movies about odd, unqualified, eccentric people coming together to do something really significant.
It says in 1 Samuel 22 verse 2 that every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves around David. And he became captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.”
David is wanting to lead his people to victory and all he had to work with were people who were down on their luck, broke people, people in debt and that’s what God had given David to lead and to work with.
Distressed, in debt, and discontented. That’s not the way we’d want to be described!
Distressed means, having anxiety or mental suffering. Or severe strain resulting from exhaustion or an accident. Debt doesn’t need to be defined. Most of us know pretty well what that means.Discontent means, “to feel restless, to have a desire or a craving for something you don’t have, to be dissatisfied and displeased.”
I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t fall into one of those three categories from time to time, or even all three of them all the time! I know I’ve been there! So many people are distressed, filled with stress, anxiety and worry. And I don’t know anyone who isn’t in some kind of debt. A lot of Gods people are in financial bondage, they can’t pay the bills, and collectors are chasing them down. And there are those here who are discontent. Restless, wanting more, dissatisfied and not even sure what you DO want. Even there are church people, running from one church to the other looking for more.
What catches my attention here in this chapter, in first Samuel chapter 22, is how do you take a group of people who are broke, busted, and disgusted and turn them into a mighty unified fighting force? How do you get these kinds of folks to find and fulfill their destiny? How did these people who were misfits become so effective? How did they find their purpose and their destiny?
First, they came together in unity. They discovered a purpose that they all had in common. They wanted to defeat King Saul and make David king. They knew that God had told the prophet Samuel to anoint David as the next king, and hey wanted to be part of what God was doing. What changed them is that they set all their smaller differences aside and worked together for a purpose bigger than themselves. They were willing to do anything and everything to help get David to the throne. They were willing to be inconvenienced, to be talked bad about, too be rejected, and to risk everything, to bring the change that was needed. That’s what brought them together. They weren’t unified because they all liked the same food, or all dressed the same way or liked the same sports teams, or the same music or anything like that. They became effective because they were all involved in bringing to pass the will of God for their lives and families.
That’s the same principle today. Jesus prayed in John’s gospel chapter 17 that we would be unified, that we would be as one. We want to save lives, to save souls, to save futures. To help people get off the drugs and alcohol, and to come to know the Lord Jesus in a real and personal way, and to have a hope and a future in life.
There’s a special anointing, a special presence of the Holy Spirit when God’s people come together to reach and help and save other people. When we give ourselves 100% to the Lord and to reaching the people He’s put in our lives. That’s the key thing. To know the Lord and to make Him known. When that’s what we’re about, God honors it and brings His blessing and His presence in a deep and powerful way. So, first they came together for a common purpose that was bigger than any of them.
Second, they rallied around each other, looked after each other, defended and protected each other. That’s not the way it is in many churches. But that’s the key. The Bible says in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2, that the disciples, 120 of them were gathered in one place and in one accord, and were praying. And then, the place they were in was shaken and the Holy Spirit came down upon all of them! If we want to take distressed, debt filled, discontented people and turn them into an incredible force we have to love each other, and live for the Lord with each other and support each other. Jesus said, By this will everyone know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
This random group of men did exactly that. They defended each other. They fought FOR each other instead of fighting WITH each other. They recognized and attacked the right enemy. They didn’t fight each other they fought one enemy. Someone said that this is why so many churches are divided and gossipy, and fragmented. Jesus called us to be fishers of men, and when fishermen don’t fish, they fight. We need to be reaching broken and hurting people with the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Not only did they have a common goal they had a common enemy. We have to understand that the enemy we are fighting isn’t fellow church members. It isn’t our neighbors. It isn’t the other people in our lives. The Bible says that our fight isn’t with flesh and blood, but is against principalities, against the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places. Flesh and blood is not your enemy!
We’ve got to move from telling people to “Watch your back,” to letting them know “I’ve got your back.”
Some of us have come from a long way off, and have issues that we’ve been dealing with for too long. Things like depression, thoughts of suicide, various addictions and struggles. We don’t need more criticism and judgmentalism, we need someone who will encourage us, care about us, pray for us and with us and to help us become everything God wants for us to become. We need someone who will stand with us and help us against those things we can’t deal with by ourselves. That’s a key principle in the family of God. We care about each other, we stick together and support and help and pray for each other!
Third, they took action. They were willing to DO SOMETHING about making the difference that was needed. They didn’t have much going for them as individuals, but when they united, they were determined to reach out and engage and protect people from being abused and destroyed by King Saul and his forces. Listen, we’re outnumbered, but people still need our help, to hear that there is a God who loves them and a Jesus who died for them, and a life that has been purchased for them on the cross, tat is better than anything they’ve ever experienced before.
If we are going to see folks who are broken, devastated, bitter, used up, and misfit become all that they are destined to become, then we need to stand up, we need to speak up and sometimes we need to act up! We need to be a voice for those with no voice, and a protection for those who have no strength! It isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s worth it. People are hurting and waiting for someone who will listen and someone who will speak and someone who will give them a hand up.
Most of us have been hurt by other people, by leaders, even. Parents, teachers, family members. And church needs to be a safe place where we can come and find hope and help and strength to deal with the things that have happened and are happening still in our lives.
When Jesus walked the earth, his followers could be described the same way. The crowds that followed Jesus were full of people who had been hurt in life. They were misfits, discontented, broke and broken. And He is still calling out to people today. People who have been misused, abused and mishandled. And I can also tell you that your past doesn’t equal your future. What you are running from isn’t as important as what you are running to, who you are running to! I know I had to quit consulting my past to find my future. I had to move beyond my hurts, and open my heart to be everything that God wants me to be. It’s the same for you. Jesus said, Whoever comes to me, I will not turn away.
I believe that we can take all the misfits that God has given us already and those he will send in the future, and with God’s help, each other’s caring and help, God can and will do great things through us and in us.
I believe that for YOU. I believe that YOU are a person who has been through many things, but it has given you a heart for people, and an understanding of the pain that so many people go through. I believe God is going to USE YOU to bring His love and His hope and His salvation to them and their circle of friends and loved ones.