My son-in-law is a high school basketball coach. The first few games of the season demonstrated that only a few of the guys had much experience, and only a couple exhibited natural talent. Each one seemed to be playing his own personal game, often with little regard to the instructions of their coach. How was Mark going to pull them together into a unit that could accomplish their goal of post-district play?
The inexperienced players were encouraged to take risks, receiving affirmation for giving their best, even if the score did not reflect a point gain. The more talented players were continually challenged to stretch themselves. Midway through the season, they were becoming aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses. They were listening to instruction, working as a team, each with a specific role in the plays the coach was calling from the sideline. As they began to share in the accomplishment of each point scored, they created some victories all could celebrate. Mark's expectations rose along with their accomplishments. We watched them night after night devote their hearts and souls, for 40 minutes, to accomplishing what the coach was asking of them.
David told his son, Solomon, and the leaders of Israel, "Devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God" (1 Chronicles 22:19). David had desired to build an appropriate house for the Lord. When he learned the Lord had chosen his son to build it, he devoted himself anew to the role the Lord had given him to fulfill. He was skilled as a warrior. He was to lead Israel to fight the battles determined by the Lord so they could peacefully dwell in the land. David knew true victory was found in seeking and obeying the Lord's will. He would pass that spiritual truth on to his son by example as well as instruction. As Solomon wisely led Israel to seek the Lord and work together, they built the temple.
The Lord has a job for his church—to share the truth of salvation with a dying world. We often look at people who have more ability than we do and expect them to fulfill what we deem as most important. Often, we are afraid to take risks or step out of our comfort zone, even though we know the Lord will bless us for giving our best. Sometimes, very talented people will rest on their own strength, missing the true power the Spirit offers. Sometimes it seems we have little regard for the instructions we find in his word. We need to realize that the Lord intends for us to work together to accomplish his tasks, recognizing the strengths of each other, giving our best and continually listening for him to call out the plays.
For those who have stayed devoted to the Lord, heart and soul, contributing to his work, even when it seemed that someone else would finish the project, thank you. We have seen into the heart of God through you.
Debra Hochgraber is children’s and women’s director at Pathways Fellowship in Mesquite, Texas.
Bible Study: 1 Chronicles 21:20-22:19
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