A Great King Charges His Heir to Seek and Serve God.
About my writing: My passion is to develop leaders who have eternity in mind with Jesus as their guide. To that end, I write about two topics. The first is leadership and character development. The second is Biblical principles through the lens of a leader.
Toward the end of his life, King David gave Solomon, his beloved son and heir, a final charge “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” (1 Chronicles 28:9-10 ESV)
As a leader, what charge are you giving to your children and to other key people in your life?
Craft a Spiritual Charge
Place on your to-do or to-think list a new item: Think of the spiritual lessons I desire to leave with my children.
David issued two to his son:
- Know the God of your father. If you seek Him, He will be found by you.
- Serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind.
What will yours be? My prayer is that you and I will intentionally and carefully craft, as David did, our instructions to our children.
Seek God to Know God
Let’s examine more closely the charge David gave his son.
I find it peculiar with spiritual matters that when one person seeks God and finds Him, he cannot simply or fully transfer his knowledge to another person by merely communicating his own experience with God. Rather, each person has to do their own seeking. King David said to Solomon “If you seek Him, He will be found by you.” This makes sense when we see our connection to God as a relationship.
One cannot wholly transfer all the intricacies of a warm relationship with someone to someone else. For example, if I am very close to a friend, I cannot introduce him to another friend, and expect that they will share the same bond. A relationship has to be explored and developed. It slowly deepens as two people get to know each other. Therefore, each relationship is unique to the people who have formed it. And it is sweetened over time if there is consistency. I have to seek to be close to my wife, to my children, to my friends, and to my colleagues. It is a unique effort with each individual.
My father—a deeply faithful person—gave me one instruction above all. It was simple. He said, “Walid, above all, love the Lord.” He could not transfer to me his strong relationship with God. Rather, he instructed me to develop my own. And we must teach our children to do the same.
This lesson is probably one of the most important lessons that we must learn and share with others. I missed it for so many years. Seeking God is more than going to church, or doing any one thing like helping or serving people. It is an attitude. It is a lifelong decision of pursuit that we must personally engage in with God.
The natural next question then is: “How do we seek God?” While I will not explore this question fully in this article, I want to offer a simple answer. How do you get close to any person? Spend time with them. If I spend only five minutes with my wife each day, I will have a ‘five-minutes deep’ relationship with her—fairly shallow.
Serve God with a Whole Heart and Mind
The second instruction David gave Solomon was “… serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind.” What does serving God mean? Serving anyone means to do what that person wants. Serving God then is to do what God wants. To know what He wants from us, we must get to know Him. I believe if we don’t first desire to know God and therefore seek Him, we won’t understand how to serve Him.
What does serving with our whole heart look like? ‘Heart’ usually refers to our devotion, our love, and our conviction. Therefore, as we get to know God, we will know how to serve Him, and we must do that with devotion and conviction.
Live the Charge
Children do what they see their parents do more than what they hear them say. So in addition to thoughtfully preparing clear messages they can keep, may we first model godly living to them.
As I think about and pray for my three children—Danny, 3 1/2 years old and Emmy and Luke, 4 months old—I pray God gives me His wisdom to pass on to them and the ability to model it for them in my life.