When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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After God’s Own Heart

March 20, 2017
Dr. Hal Brady

People give and receive numerous compliments. He’s a great person. She’s a beautiful lady. He’s quite an athlete. She’s a class act.

In the world of sports we often hear the expression, “He has color.” While I cannot exactly define it, I think you understand what it is. The athlete with “color” makes his easy plays look spectacular and his mistakes are readily forgotten. We like him just the way he is, rough edges or not. He has “color,” we say.

But perhaps the greatest compliment ever paid to a person was the compliment paid to the biblical character David. It was spoken by the prophet Samuel to an unfaithful King Saul. After reminding Saul of his failure, Samuel said to him, “...but now your kingdom will not continue; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart...” (l Samuel 13:14).

Since David was specially called “a man after God’s own heart,” we might get the impression that David was a saint or some kind of superhuman hero. But deep down, we know he wasn’t. We remember that he committed a terrible sin in his lust for Bathsheba. And even though he repented and was later forgiven by God, he still suffered for that sin all his life. So, God didn’t choose David because he was perfect.

Why, then, did God choose David? In David, God chose to make a nobody into a somebody, and in so doing, eliminated all human boasting. To be sure, God is not looking for perfect people because He knows that there are no perfect people. Neither is God looking for “holier than thou” people. Instead, God is looking for ordinary folks who are willing to be used of God, as David was.

So what are some of the qualities of “a person after God’s own heart?” The first quality is spirituality! In the comic strip “Peanuts,” Charlie Brown is talking to Linus. He’s complaining about his inability to do what he is being called upon to do. Charlie says, “Linus it all goes back to the very beginning. The moment I was born and stepped out on the stage of history, they took one look at me and said: “He is not right for the part.’”

Now, that’s the way most of us feel when we hear the word, “spirituality.” We feel that somehow we are not right for the part. But cutting to the chase, spirituality means to have a heart that is sensitive to the things of God. One way of describing spirituality could be caught up in the words of The Dalai Lama in “The Book of Joy” when he says, “The wider perspective involves stepping back, within our own mind, to look at the bigger picture and to move beyond our own limited self-awareness and our own limited self-interest.”

The second quality of being a person after God’s own heart is humility! Again, why did God choose David? You see, David had several brothers and they were much more kingly in appearance and experience. God chose David because in David he saw a heart that was wholeheartedly His. God saw in David a person of humility, a person with a servant’s heart. Isn’t it wonderful to meet up with truly famous people who don’t read their own press clippings? The late John Wooden, one of the most famous basketball coaches of all time, led his UCLA Bruins to a National Basketball Championship 10 out of 12 years. On one occasion, when he called on an acquaintance Wooden said, “Hello, my name is a John Wooden.” He said, “I understand your school needs a coach, and I have a man I would like to recommend. Wooden continued, “I’ve had a couple of years coaching basketball, and I thought you might like to take a recommendation I have.” A couple of years coaching basketball? Coach Wooden wrote the book on basketball. But isn’t it impressive that he doesn’t assume that the man will know his name. My guess is that God will also be impressed with that.

Personally, I think humility has to do with teamwork. It has to do with recognizing that we are part of a team whatever it is – marriage, family, business, sports, nation, church – everything. We are part of a team. We have a part to play, and we are happy to do it.

The third quality of a person after God’s own heart is being faithful in little things! An amazing fact about David was that after he had been chosen and even anointed the next King of Israel, he didn’t lose his grip. I’m pleased to say he didn’t go berserk. He didn’t put a sign out in front of Jesse’s tent, “Home of the King elect.” He could have called for a news conference and stated, “I’m the Man.” Or as someone put it, “He could have boarded ‘Camel One’ and gone around the nation on a listening tour.” But David did not do any of that.

What did David do? He went right back to the duty of tending the sheep. David was always faithful in the little things.

If we want to be people of noble vision we must cultivate the habit of taking care of the little things. I’m talking about the way we face our daily assignments, our study habits, our way of attending to details, and the attention we give to our spouse, children, grandchildren, friends and strangers.

Now, the real test of my job, as a preacher, is not necessarily what happens in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings, though that is vitally important. And nobody takes the task of preaching any more seriously than I do. I truly believe that what happens in the sanctuary is a matter of life and death – a matter of eternal life and death. But the real test of my job, as a minister, is what happens Monday through Saturday – in the study, in prayer, in the hospitals, in the homes, in the classrooms, the office, on the telephone or computer, in the correspondence and at the meetings.

I repeat, if we want to be people of noble vision, we must cultivate the habit of taking care of the little things.

Dr. Hal Brady is a retired pastor who continues to present the Good News of Jesus Christ and offer encouragement in a fresh and vital way though Hal Brady Ministries.

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