reflections on greatness

Maybe it was because I'd just read this passage that I caught it while watching Prince Caspian last weekend - the funny little contrast between Reepicheep's silly arrogance and his claim to "great humility." It's odd, isn't it - the minute you become aware of your humility, it really isn't humility anymore. And yet it's something that, as believers, we strive for, long for, hope for, ask for - humble hearts, no longer full of pride.

Last week, reading through 2 Samuel 7, I caught something I hadn't before. I knew this passage was about God telling David he wouldn't be allowed to build the temple, but that he would have an enduring legacy. But reading it this time, one of the phrases God used really struck me.

God reminds David, in a message relayed by Nathan the prophet, of the great things He has already done in his life, and then He says,"Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth." (v. 8-9) Almost instinctively, I asked the Lord, "Why would you tell him that, God?" And almost immediately the answer came: "Because he could handle it."

And he could. David didn't go getting all full of himself - "I'm going to be one of the greatest men on the earth." He "went in and sat before the Lord." (v. 18) Can you picture that? The king of Israel slipping into the tent of the Lord and just... sitting.

And then he says, "who am I?" and "Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?" (v.18-19)

Can you hear the humility? He's not jumping around, shouting it from the rooftops. David is remembering the deeds of the Lord (Psalm 77:11-12), and it draws him to worship. He could have fallen prey to some feeling of "entitlement"- after all, God had promised him he'd be king, and now he was, so it was all just justice now, right? and hey, look at all that time I spent hiding in caves - I should hope I'd get some sort of reward for that, and... No. I doubt that line of thinking ever crossed his mind. David loved the Lord, and the fulfillment of His promises led him not to self-righteous, arrogant pride but to worship.

David worships the Lord for His goodness to him and to His people, and then he accepts God's new promise. "And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that Your Name will be great forever." (v. 25-26)

In other words, "I'm okay with You making my name great, because it will make Your Name great when You do it."

I want that kind of perspective. I want to want God's promises over my life to be fulfilled not just because they're great (which they are) but because His Name will be made great in my life as I walk into the fulfillment of the destiny He's planned for me. It isn't about me. It's about Him. (says the woman indulging her narcissistic tendencies by blogging and hoping someone will read it.) :P

But it is, really. At least, I want it to be. I want the very fact that I live the life I choose to live - going the places He calls me when He calls me to go, doing the things He wants me to do when He wants me to do them - to point to Him, to His glory, to the greatness of His renown. Something we often pray before band practice is that God will help us to be excellent and to play well together not so everyone will think we're so great but so that we can't possibly be a distraction to anyone by our mistakes and fumbles onstage. We don't want to hit wrong chords or walk into the screens suspended from the ceiling on either side of the stage (not that this ever happens, lol) - not because we want to look/sound polished, but because when we do, people are free to not notice us at all. The music we play, the lyrics we sing, point to something greater - become something greater - than we could ever be on our own, and it gives Him glory when that happens. And I think the same sort of principle can hold true in our individual lives. We can become excellent at the things we do for the wrong reasons, and get all arrogant about it - but there are right reasons to pursue excellence, whether that's excellence at a skill or a job or producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives or walking in His specific will for our lives, etc. - and the best reason is to give Him glory.

And it's interesting how it's often when you don't notice you're doing it that you are.

If I'm going to be "great" - I want to be great the way David was. If I am remembered for anything, I want to be remembered for the way I walked with the Lord, and the way my life pointed to Him and gave Him glory. And I guess what really struck me reading this conversation between David, Nathan, and the Lord is that you don't have to be oblivious to the gi-normity of God's call on your life (tho to put it in persective a bit, the fact that God calls any of us to anything is pretty gi-normous, right?) - you just need to recognize that it isn't about you going anywhere or doing anything - it's about God being given the glory that was His all along - it's about living your life in a way that inspires others to worship.

Maybe it's just because I'm worship person, but I think that's just cool.

1 comment:

Josh said...

i love reading your observations. they always seem to point out things in life i miss.