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  • Writer's pictureacoachsdiary


Updated: Mar 26

In 2001, Lenny Cook was the best high school basketball player in the country. He was ranked higher than future NBA superstars Lebron James and Carmello Anthony, but he never played in the NBA.

From the outside looking in, Cooke was a lock to make it to the NBA. He had the size and athleticism to make it to the NBA, but because of his actions, he never made it.

Some people overachieve, while others underachieve, and much of that is controlled by our beliefs, thoughts, and actions. You give yourself the best chance to overachieve when you have good, positive, uplifting thoughts and when your actions match the goals that you have for your life.

Lenny Cooke’s actions kept him from being the NBA star that many thought he could be, and his story is something we can all learn from.

Saul was a Biblical version of someone who had all the physical tools to be great, but because of his thoughts and actions, he underachieved as the first king of Israel.

Saul was chosen to lead the scattered nation of Israel after Moses led them out of Egyptian slavery and after Joshua led them into the Promised Land.

While Joshua was alive, the Bible says the people sought God and obeyed His commandments, but when Joshua died, they started worshipping the false gods of the people they shared the land with, and because of that God, allowed their enemies to defeat them.

God rose a series of Judges to lead them when they were defeated, but the Israelites wanted to have a king like everyone else, so God anointed Saul as their new king.

The Bible says Saul was both the tallest and most handsome man in Israel and he came from a wealthy family, so he was an obvious choice to be the new king. But even with those credentials, not everyone was convinced that he could be a good king. In 1 Samuel 10:27, it is written, “But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.”

This shows that no matter how qualified you might seem, there will always be people who doubt you and don’t believe in you. The only person you need on your side is God, and when Saul first became king, God was with him. In 1 Samuel 10:6, it says, “The Spirit of The Lord will rush upon [Saul],” and in 1 Samuel 10:9 it says, “When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart.”

If God is with you, it doesn’t matter who is against you because he will bless you and take care of you. 

Because of God’s blessing and grace, Saul had early success as king. With his son Jonathan and an army full largely of volunteers, they won big victories over their enemies, the Philistines, and then again against the Amalekites, but instead of continuing to seek and follow God, Saul made two key mistakes that cost him God’s favor, blessings, and grace.

First, in a key battle against the Philistines, Saul and his army panicked because they were outnumbered, and instead of being patient and trusting God, they made burnt offerings that God did not ask for.

When you feel like you are doing the right things, the right way, and for the right reasons, and you feel like you are being led by God, be patient and let Him do what He does behind the scenes. Don’t sacrifice your blessings by trying to move too fast like Saul did.

Second, in 1 Samuel 15, Saul was told to defeat Amalek, an enemy of the Israelites, and to destroy all that they had because of what they did to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt, but instead of doing that, Saul let his people destroy what was worthless and keep the things from Amalek that they could use, like their healthy animals for food.

Be careful and monitor what you allow in your life. God’s instructions for Saul were to destroy everything in Amalek because He knew they weren’t good for God’s people. When we allow things in our lives that aren’t good for us, it can cause us to do things that bring us harm, distract us, and keep us from living the types of lives we want to live.

We all have been given certain gifts and talents, and one of our purposes in life is to grow and maximize those gifts to be used for God. In 1 Peter 4:10 it says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” 

God wants us to use these gifts to help others and glorify Jesus Christ.

But there will be times when people don’t believe in us and our gifts and there will be times when we panic and want to make bad decisions based on what is going on around us. Saul and many other important people in the Bible faced these things. But we have to make sure we put God first, trust Him, pray and speak to Him, and listen for His guidance. Unlike Saul, we can’t let fear and panic cause us to act too quickly, and we can’t let negative thoughts and things get into our world and cause us to make decisions today that will hurt our future selves.

Know and trust that God has plans for you to prosper and not bring you harm. He has plans to give you hope and a great future (Jemermiah 29:11) and don’t let anybody or any feeling take those plans away from you.


1 - What is one gift or talent that you believe God gave you to share with the world?

2 - How can you grow and use that gift or talent more?

3 - What keeps you from using that gift or talent more often?

4 - What can you do to overcome those barriers so that you are truly sharing your special gifts and talents as often as possible and with as many people as possible?

For a printable PDF of this post, click here: The Gifts and the Curse of Saul

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