Caught up in God’s good work…

It is hard to imagine anyone more impressive that David.

Newly crowned as king. Successful in everything he puts his mind to

adored by the people – impressive in appearance – fully established as God’s chosen leader –

there seems no end to his potential – and it seems even Nathan has become a fan.

“Go and do all you have in mind;” says the prophet, “for the Lord is with you.”

That is powerful affirmation for a guy who really didn’t need any convincing –

who has decided that it is time for God to settle down.

No more tents – no more wandering – no more rough desert dwellings for the Lord of Hosts

David has decided that God needs a permanent residence.

It isn’t hard to understand why David would want this –

what better way to announce God’s victory and the triumph of God’s chosen people

than to put down roots and put up tributes.

Buildings spoke of permanence and (success) – {Why NOT honour God in this manner?}

this building project wouldn’t do David any harm either,

to become known as the one who established God in the land

the one who honoured God by (finally) housing God in splendour in the city of David, er, I mean, God.

And here we come to one of the perpetual problems of God’s faithful people.

God smiles on us – we honour God – and the tribute always seems to give us glory too;

an ‘accidental addition’, perhaps, but not one we are ready to run away from.

We forget, in our haste to ‘establish God” that God has no need of our help –

in fact, from the beginning is has been quite the opposite.

It is our need of God that drives us to use our abilities to their fullest – to achieve greatness…

Nathan’s night-time vision affirms this.

The prophet’s (understandable) enthusiasm for his new king

are abruptly over ruled by the King of Kings.

I brought the people up, says the Lord

I took you, David, out from among the sheep and made you great

I have been moving about in tents,

and I will decide when to settle and who will build.

I have given you much says God through the prophet

don’t take liberties with God’s favour…

it’s not difficult to do.

We accept that God has smiled on us – we rejoice in the goodness God shows us through Christ.

We embrace our new lives as free and forgiven people

and then we forget.

We forget that we are changed only by God’s grace.

We forget that we are only witnesses to God’s glory

and assume too much about what God’s favour really means.

Like David, we take too much for granted – and we take too much credit.

We go too far with our new-found freedom in Christ

believing that what is true for us should be true for all.

And God’s truth waits for us when our dreaming is done…

How easy it is to get caught up in the work of God.

The work becomes tightly connected to our self-worth, and our understanding of who we are – how we might be remembered.

We speak passionately about the history and the future of the church – OUR church – forgetting that the church’s mission is to help people honour God first with our worship – to always keep God in the centre of all we do – forgetting that it is not our church at all.

it’s good work – meaningful and mighty – and if we don’t do it, someone else will –

and while we busy ourselves with the things we believe to be important,

God continues to seek and to find – to comfort and to save –

without the benefit of our earnest efforts.

We, like David, seek to build a legacy for God.

A sound congregation – a community of people

who treasure the things we do and the place we share.

We desperately want to point to something and say

“look at who God is, and what God has done for us…”

But David’s story urges us to remember who we are and who God is.

We are encouraged to honour God in ways that make God the focus.

And so in every effort we make, as followers of Christ,

we must ask the question “what is our real motivation here?”

Do we gather and worship so that people will know how faithful we are,

or so that we can declare to any and all who listen, just how good God is?

Do we plan and spend and raise funds

so the things we treasure might continue into the next generation,

or is our work an offering of love, in response to the love God has shown us?

Do we simply maintain and renovate our buildings

because we can’t imagine our community without them,

or is there a deep desire in us to keep aside a sacred space

in which people can come and gather and experience the joy we have known

when met by the living God in these places?

Our motives are hardly ever pure – and so we have Christ’s pure example

who continues, in the Spirit, to meet us – to rescue us –

to redeem us from traps of our own making,

and with God’s help, by Christ’s example, in the strength of the Spirit

we will be able to offer our every moment

to God’s greater glory – now and always

Amen

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