A salesman knocks on a door. The man who answers says, “I don’t need anything today.” At the next house, the salesman hears “Stay away.” At the next door, the homeowner spits in the face of the salesman. The salesman smiles, wipes the spit with a handkerchief, then looks to the sky and says it must be raining.
This story comes from Mitch Albom’s childhood rabbi and is included in the book, “Have a Little Faith.” The rabbi concludes his story by saying, “Mitch, that’s what faith is. If they spit in your face, you say it must be raining, but you still come back tomorrow.”
Do you have faith that endures? How well do you endure harsh words, failures, and the ugly moments of life? This article is the fifth in the Biblical Manhood series. Taking the pop culture image of the six stones of power in the Avengers, I identified six stones of what it means to be a Godly man from the life of David.
King David and the Temple of God
David was a great man, but throughout his life, he made plenty of mistakes and had plenty of critics and enemies. David endured because he knew his identity. He was a man after God’s own heart.
As king, David had a dream to build the temple of God. David had plans drawn for building the temple. He had acquired the supplies of gold, silver, wood, iron, onyx stone, precious stones, and alabaster to build the temple. One estimate is all these materials would be worth at least 3.6 billion dollars in today’s money. Building the temple was not to be as David shared in a speech to his leaders.
Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it. “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’ “All this,” said David, “the LORD made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern.”
1 Chron 28:2-3, 19 (NASB)
Lesson # 1 – When God says no, a man of faith endures by trusting in the character and the will of God.
Our God is holy, and with sin, there are always consequences. We can not turn back the clock and pretend that our sin didn’t happen. Some men get angry at God when they don’t get what they want. David did not list all his accomplishments and how he deserved to build the temple. David did not let the sin of selfishness ruin his life. David knew God had forgiven him and blessed him so much already.
Mark Twain once wrote, “The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.” Despite his failures, David was comfortable with himself and his relationship with God. Earlier in 1 Chronicles, David included in his speech this truth – “God took pleasure in choosing me to be King” (28:4).
David is disappointed but sees himself as the one chosen by God. As Christian men, we are co-heirs in Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote that we are more than conquerors. Men, don’t stay in your failure. Return over and over to your true identity in Christ.
Lesson # 2 – A Godly man owns up to his mistakes and moves on to his next great dream.
If he could not be the man, David realized that he could help his son build the temple. So David gave his son Solomon all the detailed plans included the designs for lampstands and eating utensils!
In 1 Chronicles 28:21, David gives Solomon advice on building the temple:
Now behold, there are the divisions of the priests and the Levites for all the service of the house of God, and every willing man of any skill will be with you in all the work for all kinds of service. The officials also and all the people will be entirely at your command.
1 Chron 28:21 (NASB)
Lesson # 3 – A godly man endures by serving God and depending on others.
Unfortunately, so many men try to be strong on their own. In their pride, men fail and can become even more stubborn and isolated. David learned it was not a sign of weakness to have others help and support him. David wanted Solomon to use his great resource when building the temple – a dedicated team of people who share in the dream.
This month was the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 when man first walked on the moon in 1969. I watched several interviews of Neil Armstrong, the astronaut who took the first step on the moon, and he kept on giving credit to the large team of dedicated men and women who made the Apollo mission possible.
The Endurance Stone seems more important to me now as I am fifty- seven years old. I want to finish strong with my career, family, and faith. I might have thirty more years, or I may have less.
When I was a college freshman, I was surprised when a professor gave us the assignment to write our future obituary at age 80. I am sure I didn’t do an outstanding job with the assignment, but it made me list my dreams and consider what impact I wanted to make on this earth. We cannot take back our mistakes, but every man has time to leave a legacy of faith and endurance.
Paul Arnold is a husband, father, grandfather, and currently serves as a chaplain to a senior living facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He hosts several podcasts – Man to Man (career advice for men) and Pardon the Confusion (Sports) that are found on iTunes and www.redcircle.com