“Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, ‘Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys’” (1 Samuel 9:3, ESV).
Whenever Scripture tells us about something being lost, as in this story or the parable that Jesus told of the lost sheep, we are being taught about God’s heart for the lost. God wants His people to be willing to go and rescue the lost — exactly as was happening here in the account regarding Saul.
“And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim” (verse 4). Going up and down the hills of Ephraim was a hard way to start, but Saul’s father had given him a mission and he was going to see it through.
Then verse 4 continues: “[They] passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them.” Saul had gone through the hill country and now a second territory without finding the donkeys. He must have felt kind of hopeless, wondering, “Am I ever going to find these donkeys?”
In his heart Saul was committed to the search because, “My father asked me to do this and I want to be obedient to that call. These lost donkeys matter to my father and I’m going after them with my whole heart.”
“They passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them” (verse 4, continued).
Finally Saul said to his servant, “Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious for us” (verse 5).
Saul was saying, “We gave this a good try. We had a vision and I really thought we could do this but we can’t.”
For some people their apprehension about stepping out in faith is really a fear of failure. They do not do what God has called them to because they are afraid they may not succeed.
Listen carefully. When God calls you to something, He is not always calling you to succeed, He’s calling you to obey! The success of the calling is up to Him; the obedience is up to you.