King David's name is familiar to anyone who has read the Bible. Kids who know Bible stories have heard of the teenager who felled a seasoned warrior - a giant at that - with a well-placed stone flying from his sling.
Off the top of my head, I think of David as:
- shepherd boy, defending the flock from lion and bear
- killer of Goliath, with a faith that is both bold and innocent
- younger brother of soldiers, eager to get the scoop on battlefront news
- musician and composer, harpist, singer, poet, and dancer
- leader of a rebels, living on the run in the hills
- replacement for a disobedient king
- polygamist and adulterer
- schemer and strategist
- someone who came from a simple life to extravagance and leadership perks
Something I rarely connect with David is his genius for leadership. He had the charisma and skill to attract rough outcasts into a band of brothers, complete with families and belongings. Later, he united tribes with little in common into a strong nation.
Reading 1 Chronicles 23-27 is eye-opening. Near the end of David's reign, the details of the king's wealth are impressive. But my eye is caught by the men listed as overseers. These "mighty men" and strong-willed, gifted leaders reported to the king and did the king's business. Even when his personal life became a mess, when his children were indulged and spoiled, when political turmoil ousted him for a season, the administration of his dominion ran like clockwork.
It's easy to assume that God is blessing a ministry or business when it's running smoothly and money is flowing. Inexplicably, God gifts some for leadership of tens, hundreds, thousands, and beyond.
When God blesses with leadership genius, the person must work extremely hard to stay centered on the core values of integrity and friendship with God. Without character, success goes to one's head, destroying a gifted leader with a wash of self-indulgence and dissipation.
W and I were talking about how hard it is to finish a life well. It seems even more challenging for those who start gloriously and achieve a lot early on.
A good name is more valuable than riches, said the sage. It's a good idea to guard our hearts and reputations even more zealously in seasons of success than in times of anonymity or struggle.
*Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 NIV
*Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT
*What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:1-4 NIV