Monday, December 3, 2012

1 Chron 29:10-19, 26-28 Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: "Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.   O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you. Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision"...

Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. The time that he reigned over Israel was forty years. He reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. Then he died at a good age, full of days, riches, and honor. And Solomon his son reigned in his place.

It's not how we started but how we end that determines whether we have lived a great life. David was 30 years of age when he started reigning and handed over the throne to his son Solomon some 40 years later in a glorious end of praise and worship. What a way to go! And in his last days, he did the most important task of his life--he prepared for all the materials needed for the building of the temple and he contributed from his own private resources more than 100 tons of gold, 200 tons of refined silver. At average of USD 50K per kg for gold and USD 1K per kg for silver at today's prices, the amount contributed by David personally is equivalent to US $5 billion of gold and $100 million of silver. This is no small contribution from one man. No wonder the rest of leaders felt obliged to contribute as freely, though not as much as the king! Leadership is by example. We should never ask our followers to do more than we ourselves are willing to do.

The reason David was able to give so freely is because he acknowledged that God is the source of all he had: "Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all" (v.12). If as believers, we have achieved material success, we must acknowledge the source of this blessing. Some may think, "But my success is a result of my own hard work and my innate personal qualities". But don't forget that even who you are and what you possess is from the Lord: he made you from the womb. So, we should rightly attributed all glory and grace to our Lord and affirm with David that "For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you" (v.14). We have nothing to boast of ourselves but only thanksgiving and praise: "And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name."

David started well and ended gloriously: "Then he died at a good age, full of days, riches, and honor" (v.28). He did not just fade away into senility and incoherence: his last acts and words were his greatest! 

Father, what a privilege to serve You till the end. Help us not only to start well but to end gloriously even as we acknowledge throughout our lives that "all things come from You and of your own have we given you". Amen.

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