Running into the library I spotted a young boy with a buzz cut wearing a batman costume. Sweet memories swept over me of my own once little tike running around in a Buzz Light Year costume saying “Hola, Woody” since our one VCR tape of Toy Story had been in Spanish.
I’ve been rather nostalgic lately as our family wraps up the year of lasts for my son’s senior year. Last night was the last band concert for high school; tomorrow the last choir concert. We are a few days away from the last tests and in the middle of the last days of school.
At the band concert, our band director gave some parting words to our students. Words of wisdom including, “Work hard at everything you do.” Many concerts and celebrations have been filled with similar words. In fact, even in our home we’ve adopted the phrase, “be a difference maker” to encourage both our kids to go beyond themselves and make a difference in the lives around them.
Last Sunday evening while attending a celebration for seniors at church, our youth director challenged our families to see this phase of life not as a last but as a beginning. New opportunities open as soon as graduation closes its door. Opportunities to put all the advice we’ve received to work. As I look through so much of these, “words of wisdom”, I’ve started to wonder, “What advice does God’s word give?” This morning while reading my Bible I came to the part of God’s story where David calls Solomon in to give some advice on his next step.
“So now, with God as our witness, and in the sight of all Israel – the Lord’s assembly – I give you this charge. Be careful to obey the commands of the Lord your God, so that you may continue to possess this good land and leave it to your children as a permanent inheritance. And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong and do good work.” 1 Chronicles 28:8-10
“Then David continues, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.”” 1 Chronicles 28:20
In 1 Chronicles 28, King David is stepping down in leadership as he is aging. As he does, he is calling his son, Solomon, to be the next king. This passage is encouraging Solomon to build a temple for God. The temple was David’s dream. David desired God to have a holy and beautiful space among his people, a place of worship. A place of reverence. David loved the Lord. In calling Solomon to this task, David is also advising Solomon to love the Lord.
David is asking Solomon to align his will with that of God’s, to seek God’s plan, take on His design and purpose, allowing Solomon to receive God’s blessing, as well.
Align. Interesting word. One of the definitions listed in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is, “to arrange things so that they form a line or are in proper position.” David tells Solomon how to align his will in the words he gives him. He says:
- “Obey the commands of the Lord Your God.” In order to obey the commands, you need to know them. Know your scripture and then follow it. “Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” (Proverbs 7: 2-3)
- “Worship and serve him with your whole heart and willing mind” Desire to serve God. Take the time to know him and make him a priority. “And you must love the lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
- “If you seek him, you will find him.” “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13) God is longing for you to seek him; he is already at work within your heart showing you how to seek him.
- “Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” There will be times when you will be tempted to fear. Hard times will come, but trust God and He will carry you through. “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” (Psalms 34:19)
- “Be strong and do good work” Looks like our band director was headed in the right direction. Honesty, integrity and hard work matter to God.
I love what David says after he gives all this advice. In verse 20 David says, “He [God] will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.” God will not only help us with the work we do like he did with Solomon and building the Temple, if we align ourselves with God and walk according to his will, he will not only help us with our work, he will also help us grow and become the people he is calling us to be. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6
From me to my graduate, I translate:
I give you this charge. Obey the commands of God, love and worship him with your whole heart. Seek him knowing he is already at work within you. Times of discouragement will come, but don’t fear them because God has your back. Finally, do your best work each day, no matter what it is. Work with honesty and integrity because it doesn’t just represent you, it represents God, as well. God will help you along life’s journey, so continue to walk with him throughout your day to day.
I part with this blessing from Psalm 20:4-5.
“May [God] grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all you prayers.”
Blessings, Dearest Graduate!