If I asked you what you did today, what would you say? Maybe it would be something like:
“I worked a dead-end job.”
“I changed some nappies.”
“I studied some material that I’ll never use again.”
But whether you believe it or not, God is using this daily faithfulness to build character in and through you. It’s not wasted time. It’s pasture time.
In the Bible, when God wants to prepare a leader, He often sends that leader to the pasture, not the palace.
Psalm 78:72 “With upright heart [David] shepherded them and guided them with his skilful hand.”
And where did he learn to shepherd God’s people? Not by going straight to the top. David learned to tend God’s sheep by tending literal sheep in the pasture. It may have looked like menial work to everyone else. But God was shaping David for future service.
I’ve seen this pattern so often: When God chooses someone, he sends them through a time of monotonous faithfulness in which they have to show whether they’ll be faithful in small things. The big things may come later. But the small faithfulness is God’s first assignment.
I first discerned the call of God to full time ministry when I was 14 years old, as rose from the waters of baptism. I knew that day where my life was headed. Little did I know that God had ‘pasture’ plans for me, and I was 30 years old when I finally entered Bible college and saw that first conviction become a reality. Everything I did in those 16 years shaped me and prepared me for what God had called me into when I was a teenager.
So, if you believe God has chosen you for some special assignment, be ready for some pasture time. Know that it’s coming. Expect it. Own it. Your pasture, your wilderness, is God’s laboratory for forming that heart He wants in you.
To be like David, a person after God’s own heart, God has to prepare you as He prepared David. When Saul, David’s predecessor, is introduced in the Old Testament, we meet him as he is on the search for his father’s lost donkeys. This isn’t an accidental detail: Saul was, from the beginning, a failed shepherd.
But David? We first meet him tending his sheep, even when someone of prominence was at his home. He was a faithful shepherd, following the rule of pasture time: Faithfulness in the small produces power in the big. God took David from the pasture and made him king. David’s job – a shepherd – didn’t change. Only his flock did.
Granted, for most of us, the assignment we receive will pale in scope relative to David’s. I don’t know anyone who has been promised a literal throne and a literal kingdom. But the principle stands: When God chooses someone for a special assignment, the first step is nearly always small, monotonous, mundane. He starts in the pasture.
So be faithful and intentional in your pasture. God cultivated David’s heart through long periods of silence, solitude, reflection, and prayer. David prioritised his relationship with God, not despising the small things of each day.
That’s why your obedience, your faithfulness, and your submission matters today … and tomorrow … and every day after that. It’s a litmus test for your obedience and your faithfulness later.
Don’t despise your pasture time. God is there. God is working – not just on your future, but more importantly, He is working on you – today, and every day.