“After the king was settled in his palace
and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him,
he said to Nathan the prophet, ‘Here I am, living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God remains in a tent.’
Nathan replied to the king, ‘Whatever you have in mind,
go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.’”
2 Samuel 7:1-3 (NIV)
Peace finally came for mighty King David and he then set his heart on building a house for the Lord who had so richly blessed him. It was certainly a good idea, a wonderful goal, and his heart was in the right place. God deserved to have a house where the priests and people could come to worship and offer sacrifices.
However, the Lord had determined that because David was a man of war and had been involved with so many battles, that he was not suitable to build His house of worship. It was explained to David that his son would do that great work.
David accepted God’s will quickly, and so proved himself obedient and submissive to the Lord. While it must have cost David dearly in his ambition, he nevertheless did as the Lord told him.
Such must be the case with us in the Lord’s service. A great man in the New Testament was Barnabas. He did not write any of the New Testament, he never stood at the head of a church council like James in Acts 15, but he worked quietly in the background coaching and guiding others to larger and more public service than he had.
Under God, Paul—the great apostle, writer of much of the New Testament, and missionary statesman—owed his career to the work of Barnabas. John Mark—who wrote a Gospel and was the man Paul wanted to see when he was preparing for his execution—also owed his place in Christian ministry to Barnabas. Barnabas had developed him into a mighty man of God.
A few are called to the front lines of ministry in highly exalted places, but most of us must learn to be content with a lesser role in the work of the Lord. Every young preacher dreams of being a great preacher who has thousands listening to him/her every Sunday.
Yet, when reality comes, those dreams must often be put aside as the Lord shows us the more humble goals He has for our lives. Your dream of missionary service, or being mightily used in service to the Lord may have to be laid aside. God may have called you to be a David or a Barnabas who will support greater ministries or lives than your own. Do not be discouraged. All God wants from any of us is faithfulness to what He has called us to do. When we yield our goals to the Lord’s we shall receive great reward in heaven.