This excerpt in my Bible in 1 Kings jumped out to me. It reads:
“Politicians who run on a platform of reform often, when they attain power, act depressingly like the corrupt leaders they have just replaced. Such is the story of Jeroboam, a decent man who had a unique chance to stop Israel’s slide into corruption.”
And such is the story with so many of us, I thought.
There are many “decent men” on this earth. There are fewer “decent men” to whom the Lord gives a “unique chance” of a great position of power through which they have the opportunity to make a difference for His kingdom.
You’ve heard of the 1%. 1% of the population makes 99% of the money. And with money comes power. And influence. “A unique chance” of sorts…
A unique and rare opportunity to influence the world… for better or worse.
See, Jeroboam happened to work as a top official to King Solomon, one of the greatest rulers – as far as wealth and power – of all time. Solomon, however, did not follow the Lord’s will and commands which resulted in the destruction of his empire. The dividing of his land and tribes into twelve parts.
During that process, Jeroboam was given ten of those twelves tribes. Skip forward to Jeroboam as king. When he feared his people would be won back to the competing southern nation, Jeroboam created a new religion that succeeded by this world’s standards but was most definitely against God’s instruction.
I moved out to LA four years ago with the goal of becoming a successful actress. I would have loved nothing more than to have immediately landed huge film roles and/or a series regular on a TV show. That would have been my ideal plan.
But God is bigger than our ideal plan.
God’s ideal plan is to use His followers to advance his Kingdom – to succeed by His standards, and not the world’s.
If I had had immediate success as an actress, I might have taken credit for it myself. I would like to think I would have been wiser than that… But who knows?
But years of “pounding the pavement” will do something to you… It will humble you like nothing else, making you see that sometimes – no matter how talented you are, no matter how proactive you are – at some point it has nothing to do with you and everything to do the the Lord.
At some point I have realized that I can do everything right, everything in my power to succeed, but ultimately it’s God’s decision, and through His own power, to bless me with the opportunities with which he wants to bless you – or not – and in His timing – or not.
I know now that should I have great success as an actress I will point it all back to God, recognizing that any success I achieve will only be because of His grace and not because of anything I have done.
Should any of us ever be one of the “decent men” the Lord blesses with a “unique chance,” my sincerest hope is that we won’t be a Solomon, that we won’t be a Jeroboam. My hope, instead, is that we will always point back to the Lord saying:
“Not because of me, but because of Him. Not for me, but for Him.”
May we live – with each passing breath we are given – to honor, serve, and give all the glory to Jesus Christ who is our only true and worth-while reason for living. May we succeed by the Lord’s standards and not by those of this world.
Paul’s prayer in Philippians (chapter 1, verses 3-6) says it so well:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”