A 21st Century Goliath

A few years ago Malcom Gladwell wrote a best selling book based on one of the most famous stories from the Bible – David and Goliath. The subtitle: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. In his book he talked about the unconventional methods different sports teams, businesses and artists have used to find success. He compared these examples to how David used an unconventional method to slay Goliath and become and instant national hero.

As the story goes, before the little boy David went out to the front lines to confront the giant Goliath, the king tried to dress David in his own suit of armor. Conventionally, that’s what warriors would wear to battle. The king was merely acting according to protocol, or status quo. David, however, found the suit to be much too cumbersome and inhibiting. He decided to throw off convention, release tradition and head to the battle with an entirely new paradigm – one of his own making.

Well, I had my own Goliath to slay this past week. A Goliath by the name of Joy to the World.

Now, this wasn’t just any old Joy to the World, mind you. We’re talking about the Whitney Houston version (from the movie The Preacher’s Wife). If you’re not familiar with this amusement ride of a production, you can check it out here


I say it was my own Goliath, because I had to learn this song for a performance today. I had sheet music and I had the recording of the song, yet despite these resources I was having one heck of a time learning it. I was comparing myself to the guitar player that plays on the song thinking, “I don’t know what he’s doing. I don’t think I can do this.”

There were many times when I thought, “Maybe I should just sit this one out. ”

Trying to learn that song exactly like how they play it in the recording was like trying on a suit of armor that just doesn’t fit.

“This just isn’t me,” I finally had to admit. “I will just have to put my own spin on this.”

And spin it I did! I came up with a part that worked for me – and obviously worked for the song – and had a great time performing it.

And to think, I wanted to give up.

Of course, I realize this wasn’t a real serious Goliath. As intimidating as it was, it was still a fun Goliath. Yet I know some of you are facing some very serious Goliaths. Just this week I have visited you in the hospital. I’ve prayed with you over the phone. I heard about your parenting challenges. I’ve spoken to you about how you often feel like the demands are too much and you’ve got nothing in the tank, so to speak.

What I want to do is inspire you to have the spirit of David. If the conventional ways of dealing with your Goliath don’t seem to be working, sure you may just need to persevere, but it could also be that this is an opportunity for you to show the world a whole new way of dealing with difficult issues.

What do yo think that might look like for you in your particular situation?

Who knows? You could be the next national hero!

Here’s to having an unconventional week!


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