Nothing is in vain - even when you have to chase after lost donkeys.
Let me explain..
Back in the book of 1 Samuel, the people of God, Israel, were itching for something different. They had God as their leader and protector, and yet, they wanted their own personal King, like all the other nations. They wanted a King to judge them and fight their battles. So, although God had Samuel (His prophet) lay out a clear picture and warning of the misfortune it would bring upon His people, they still demanded. God gave them over to what they had desired and Samuel was left to anoint the next King.
Now if you read through this narrative in 1 Samuel 9 you probably wouldn't notice anything out of the ordinary. We know what to expect next, Samuel is going to meet the man that God has chosen to be the next King and the narrative would go on from there. But is that it to the story?
Have you ever noticed how Samuel ended up meeting Israel's first King, Saul?
Take a look at 1 Samuel 9:3 - "Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul's father, were lost." WHAT does that have to do with the price of tea in china? Well, it happened to be that Saul took a servant and went out to search for the lost donkeys. Their search progressed from city to city, town to town with no sight of the donkeys. It wasn't until they had found themselves in the land of Zuph that Saul's servant spoke up. He mentioned that there was a man of God in this city - one that could possibly help them with a direction to go. Skip down to v. 15 - "Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: 'Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man..and you shall anoint him to be the leader over my people, Israel.'"
Did you catch it? It's amazing! It's brilliant! It's eye-opening!
God had caused the donkeys to go astray so that Saul would end up running into Samuel.
It was the chasing after lost donkeys that united God's prophet with Israel's first King.
Now I want to be careful to not make this more than it really is. But just THINK about it! I want you to see and learn that God can and will use ANYTHING to get you to where you need to be. He could have brought about this meeting a thousand other ways - but He used a few awol donkeys to bring about this anointing process. There is a reason this is in the Scriptures - don't skip over small gems like these. Don't minimize the Word of God simply because the letters aren't in red.
This teaches me to not despise what I am going through or what I am currently involved in. Why? Because God is at work and is always moving us toward His purposes. Yes, even when it seems small and pointless. Even when it seems annoyingly off-course.God is Sovereign, and because He is, we should strive to see nothing as vain - but purposeful in the hands of Jesus! It brings greater clarity and encouragement to each and every circumstance. What you might deem as necessary, hard, wasteful, confusing - God may be using to bring about something you need. He is good like that, using the most unlikely candidates to bring about His desired purposes.
I've seen it in my life. God has used the small and, even in my eyes, insignificant things, to bring about connections, relationships, opportunities - all of which have helped advance the Kingdom and mature my heart.
Don't despise the small things. Don't despise the odd things.
Sometimes you will catch yourself looking for lost donkeys...
God may be using just that to bring you to where you need to be, to Himself!