In the business world, most overnight successes are years in the making. Usually, there are many years of seemingly fruitless effort and preparation before a stroke of genius happens.
The ministry is similar. Any lasting and effective ministry that is changing lives and making a big impact takes years and years of often mundane and difficult work. Someone has to have the vision to work hard and prepare even when there is very little visible fruit.
David modelled this spirit. He had a vision of a temple being built for God that would “be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries” (1 Chronicles 22:5). Yet God told he was not to be the one to build it.
Instead of feeling rejected and upset, David did much of the preparation work so that his son could much more easily built the temple. David goes on to say in 1 Chronicles 22:5, “‘I will therefore now make preparation for it.’ So David prepared abundantly before his death.”
He prepared iron for the nails and joining and brass in abundance without weight. He gathered cedar trees and had masons hew stones. He saved up 100,000 talents of gold, and 1 million talents of silver. He trained up workmen in abundance that could fashion stone and timber and many other skilled labourers ready. He said, “Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number” (1 Chronicles 22:16).
Solomon had it made. He almost couldn’t fail. He dad used his wisdom, experience, and abilities to set him up to have the best possible chance of success. And when the temple was built, it would be called “Solomon’s Temple,” but it would not have been what it was without David preparing abundantly.
So here are some challenges for us today:
Get a vision of what God can do. Don’t settle for small dreams and mediocre accomplishments. “Expect great things from God”, as Carey said. The same God who changed lives, built churches, and raised up missionaries in the past can do the same today.
Prepared for that vision to come to pass. Prepare as if it is going to happen, as if God is going to do great things. Our expectation of what God can do will cause us to “attempt great things for God.” William Carey believed God would do great things in India, so he worked hard, he prepared, he translated Scripture, he trained men, and to this day the effects of his ministry still last.
Make others a success. Realise that much of what you do will not be remembered or appreciated. Realise that others will probably built the temples, score the goals, and get the credit. But that is okay. Because it is not about us. And it was not about Solomon. It was about the glory of God. And more than glorifying any man, that temple brought glory to God.
So what vision do you have? Have you lost your vision because it did not happen in the short-term?
How can you prepare and invest today so that others will be a success tomorrow?
Have you allowed your own ego to keep you from empowering, training, and preparing for the success of others?