Sustaining Greatness, by Pastor Akinkunmi Thomas

Saul became King as a result of public opinion and human desire to reject God’s rulership over them. God anointed Saul to be King over Israel but Saul chose to disobey and dishonour God and as a result, God rejected him to be King over His people and moreover, that his family will cease to rule over Israel.

King Saul lacked the character to sustain the promotion God bestowed on him. Nothing good last in the life of whoever lacks character.

Because God hates a vacuum, God found a better replacement in the house of Jesse. In the house of Jesse were 7 men, handsome and tall with their younger brother and they were paraded before Samuel and Samuel said God has rejected them because God does not look at the appearance of men but the heart.

It’s our heart that qualifies us for promotion. It’s our heart that determines how far we will go. Guard your heart with all diligence, out of it flows the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23.


1 Samuel 16:1-14

God Knew What Samuel Or Others Did Not See. Eliab, Abinadab and Shammah were belittling and petite in their thoughts. In 2 Samuel 17: They mocked and derailed David. They were in the military and well built. David was keeping sheep. Moses thought the same about Aaron as a leader.

  1. David Possessed The Heart Of A Servant. Psalm 89:20 “I have found my servant David; I appointed him by pouring holy oil on him.” David – my servant. Servanthood is humility in practice.

To be a servant means to perform menial tasks.

To be a servant is to not care who gets the credit.

To be a servant you have just one goal: the success of your superior. 

Mark 9:35 “Anyone wanting to be the greatest must be the least – the servant of all!”

  1. David Possessed A Heart Of Integrity. Psalm 78:70 “He chose David his servant, from tending the sheep… he brought him to be the shepherd of his people. And David shepherded them with the integrity of heart.” Integrity is what you are when no one else is looking.

Proverbs 18:16 A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. Your gift may bring you before great men, but it is a character that enables you to stay there.

Joseph’s gift brought him before pharaoh, but his character made him prime minister of Egypt. Greatness is not a one-time event:

David killed the giant and we think that was when he became great. No. Greatness is doing every little thing in a great way.

True greatness is not seen in the big things we do, but in the little things we do in a great way. 

A crown doesn’t make a man a king, it only identifies the king in the man.

  1. God Chose David Because He Was Ready (V.11-12). When Jesse and David’s brothers are brought in before Samuel, they are “sanctified,” v. 5 – their sins are dealt with and they are made ready for worship. When David is brought, there is no sanctification – he is ready nonetheless!

What you’re presently doing will determine if you are ready for the next level.

  1. God Chose David Because He Was Reliable (V.11). When God calls David, He finds him faithfully doing what he has been told to do – keeping sheep. He is doing a dirty, lonely job; but he does it because it is what he has been assigned to do. After he is anointed, he goes back to his flock, v. 19. Why? Because that is what he does! Even after he is called to Jerusalem to play for King Saul, v. 23, he returned to keep his father’s sheep, 17:15. Why? Because David is faithful.
  2. God Chooses Those Who Are Redeemed (v.13). When Samuel anointed David and perhaps whispered God’s plan in his ear; this was not David’s first encounter with God.

He had seen the power of God written in the heavens (Psalm 19).

He had witnessed God’s tender care for His people in his own relationship to his flocks (Psalm 23).

He might have walked onto the public stage in 1 Sam 16, but David had been walking with God for some time (1 Sam. 17). God calls & chooses His vessels from among His redeemed ones.

  1. David Respected The Covenant. Had True, Genuine Faith: 1 Samuel 17: For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? Who can forget young David’s words to Saul as he prepared to go face Goliath, he said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came out and took a lamb out the flock, I went out after it… And when it rose against me, I caught it by its beard and struck and killed it.’ ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ Have that faith to meet Satan on his own ground today.
  2. David Had A Truly Grateful Heart: In Psalm 30 David said, ‘I will give thanks unto thee forever’. David was grateful to God for all He had done in His life. He never let it go to his head.
  3. David Had A Truthful Nature Of Repentance Whenever He Sinned & Was Confronted: When David sinned he admitted his sin to God. David knew what kind of person could walk with God – a person who walked uprightly and spoke the truth in his heart. Ps. 24:3-5.
  4. David Had A Transparent Life: Psalm 26:2 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. David even prayed that God would examine his life. Would you and I be so quick to pray that God would examine our lives? But our lives already are anyway.
  5. David Was Also Cunning In Playing: He had a talent or an ability to play this instrument and he developed it. Develop your talents. Everyone has been given certain talents and abilities that others don’t have. Maybe it is woodworking or singing. Maybe it is writing or typing. Maybe it is painting or cleaning. Practice and use it for the glory of God!
  6. David Was Courageous And Brave. Don’t be scared to be available to God. God is looking for those who will be brave and courageous. 1 Sam. 17:32.
  7. David Was Prudent In Matters: He had good judgment and was ready to learn. There are some people God will never use because we know too much. God can’t teach a know-it-all, and He can’t effectively use one. Be ready to listen and learn and grow and change your mind.
  8. David Was A Comely Person: David was fine looking and took good care of himself. Now everyone has not been blessed with good looks, but everyone can take pride in his or her appearance. You can do the best you can with what you’ve got. Don’t be a slob. Be clean and act like you care about the body you’ve been given. Keep the little you have clean.
  9. David Possessed A Heart Of Dependence On God. I want you to notice the comparison of Saul’s heart to David’s.

Psalm 62:6-8 God alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

  1. David Also Had A Heart Of Obedience For God. Psalm 40:8 “I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your law is written on my heart.”

Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

David’s desire was to be obedient. Unlike Saul who tried to whitewash his sin, David was crushed over his sins (Psalm 51).

  1. The Lord Was With David. He Was Anointed With The Holy Spirit. How did Saul’s servants know that God was with David?

Can people tell the Lord is with you? There was readiness in his heart for the Holy Spirit.

God is looking for some young David’s and Joshua’s to anoint with his Holy Spirit.

David was youngest of 8 = the number of new beginnings. God wants to do something fresh.

Let’s be like David and give God something to anoint. There are some lions and bears that need to be slain in this hour, and you are God’s choice for the job.


Thank God for where you are

Reject and refuse to be stagnant

Help me build a character that will ensure my greatness

The grace to serve diligently I receive.

The sermon, Sustaining Greatness, by Pastor Akinkunmi Thomas, Pastor RCCG Living Bread, Newcastle and Zonal Pastor, was delivered on May 13, 2018.