This week's lectionary readings- 2 Samuel 7:1-14a; Psalm 89:20-37; Ephesians 2:11-22; and Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 can be found at Vanderbilt's lectionary page.
I'll be preaching on the 2 Samuel and Mark texts this week, so if you're in the greater Nashville area, come worship with us at Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin at 8:30 or 11am. Or you can listen to the message the next day on the website.
I am really drawn to David's story this week. He's entered Jerusalem as a conquering hero, the undisputed king of Israel, and now that he's on the throne, his mind starts to wander. It hasn't wandered across the street to a loyal soldier's wife just yet, though that one is coming.
David gets the notion to build a Temple for the Ark of God, because he feels guilty that he lives in a palace while God dwells in a tent. David's heart is in the right place, but God says "no, this isn't your job. I've got someone else in mind."
I can't help but wonder if this was tough for David to hear. After all, David is used to being the man, the guy who gets things done. David may have started to think that he was the only person God wanted to use to do great things. He may have started to forget that while he had done great things for God, it was God doing them through him. Jr. High kids don't slay giants on their own.
We human beings are a pretty self centered bunch. Even when our intentions are good, we find a way to make it about us. Maybe David's desire to build God a Temple came with the unspoken expectation that David's name appear on the masthead, too. His intentions are good, but as a human he finds a way to make it about him.
Paul is reminding the Ephesians that there was a time when they were far away from God, and to remember that it was God that fixed the situation, not them. They're part of this great redeeming work that God is doing, but they can't forget that God is at the center of it, not them.
In Mark's gospel, the twelve disciples Jesus sent out to preach and heal come back with stories about people being healed, demons being cast out, and all kinds of other things. "Great work, guys!" Jesus says. "Now come away and rest for a while."
The disciples, in the midst of their excitement, would have quickly found a way to make it all about them. They'd decide they were pretty awesome, and the world needed them so badly that they had to head back out there right away! Jesus tells them to rest. They're in this for the long haul, so they have to pace themselves. And if they're worried about what will happen while they're resting, they need to remember that they're not the only people God is going to use.
They get to be part of the work of God's Kingdom, but they're not the center. That's an easy thing to forget. David needed to be reminded. Jesus' disciples needed to be reminded. So do we.