“‘But the LORD said to David my father, “Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, it is not you who shall build the house, but your son….”’” (2 Chronicles 6:8-9)
For most of David’s life, he was fighting wars. From his first fight with Goliath to his many subsequent battles, he was truly a man of war. But in his later years, he had a new vision. What he really wanted to do was build a house for God. God, however, had other plans. There would be a temple, He promised, but it would not be David who built it. Instead, it would be Solomon, his son and heir. God’s reason was that David had shed too much blood in his life to be able to build God’s holy house. Solomon, on the other hand, would be a man of peace.
Having heard that he wouldn’t be able to fulfill his dream, David might have decided to just let Solomon take care of it all. After all, if he was to a man of peace, he would have plenty of time to plan the temple, gather the materials, and oversee the construction. What would be the point of David doing anything if he wouldn’t even get to see the fruit of his labor?
While that may be a common reaction, that is certainly not what David did. 1 Chronicles 21:5 reveals that he “provided materials in great quantity” for the temple, all the way until his death. He wanted the temple to be magnificent, suitable for God Himself to dwell in. Even though he wouldn’t be able to see the finished result, that didn’t stop him from doing what he could to ensure the temple would indeed be built.
In our own lives, we all want to do great things for God. We were created to serve Him, after all; if we’re doing what’s right, how can we help but be eager to do something incredible? But unfortunately, we tend to equate greatness with impressiveness. Solomon did something great because the temple was beautiful; Nehemiah did something great because he rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem; Paul did something great because he was one of the world’s first missionaries; and the list goes on. All of these people did incredible things for God, and we remember them with pride because of it.
But what about people like David? We don’t remember him as the builder of the temple; he was just the guy who gathered the materials. Kinda boring, right? Actually, no. God was pleased that David wanted to build Him a house, and He blessed him because of that desire. How did He bless him? By giving him a son who would accomplish his heart’s desire.
God gives us our wishes and dreams for a reason. When the desire to do something comes from Him, He’s going to see to it that it happens. But we have to realize that just because we’re called to do something doesn’t mean we’re actually going to see it come to fruition. David was called to build the temple just as much as Solomon was, but his part was to make things ready. He could have pouted about that and refused to do anything at all, since he wasn’t going to get to do what he really wanted. But he didn’t. He was faithful in what he could do, and because of that, Solomon was able to complete the temple within the first seven years of his reign.
So, what does it really mean to do something great? To God, it seems that it means being willing to serve Him and do what He says, no matter how small or insignificant your part may seem. Everything has a purpose; somebody has to gather the materials before the construction can begin. The real question is, are we going to pout because we can’t do it all? Or rejoice that we’re able to do a little bit in something wonderful?