Every leader wants to see their dreams and visions come to life.
But what happens when God wants to accomplish your vision through someone else?
This was the situation that King David found himself in. David had a burning desire to build a temple in Jerusalem as a dwelling place for God:
I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God, and I made preparations for building. But God said to me, 'You may not build a house for my name, for you are a man of war and have shed blood'" (1 Chronicles 28:2-3).
In 2 Samuel 6 David brings the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem and places it in a tent. Yet, David is disturbed that he lives in a luxurious palace while the ark is in conditions that he feels are less favorable than it deserves (2 Samuel 7:1-2). David has goes to Nathan the prophet with his concern and Nathan quickly replies, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you" (2 Samuel 7:3).
David seems to get clearance to take on this project, but then things change abruptly.
We read that the very night that Nathan gave David the go-ahead to build the Temple, God speaks to Nathan and informs him that David will not be the one to build the Temple. Rather, David's son will be the one who accomplishes this dream.
If I was David I think that I would have been discouraged by this answer. To have a burning passion to see something accomplished and be told by God that I was not going to be able to see it through would be a tough pill to swallow.
Yet, what is amazing to me is David's response both in word and in action.
First, David does not respond with frustration or angst against God. Rather, he responds with overwhelming gratitude:
"Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?...Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you..." (2 Samuel 7:18, 22).
Second, David sets out to make detailed preparations for the construction of the Temple.
The detail of preparations is seen later in 1 Chronicles 28. As Solomon starts his reign, David gives him detailed plans for every aspect of the Temple including the provisions to make the construction possible. In other words, David spent his reign preparing for a vision that he would never see come to fruition.
I think that the moment that David found out that he would not be the one building the Temple it would have been justified for him to simply accept God's decision and forget about it. In fact, it might have even been easier to put it out of his mind rather than to prepare year after year for something that he would never experience.
But David was more concerned with God's plan than he was his own.
What an amazing example of leadership humility.
What an amazing example of having God's will prioritized over personal agenda.
What a great example of what it looks like to set up the next generation to succeed.
And what an amazing example of what it looks like to build God's kingdom rather than our own.
May we always lead with the vision of God in mind. May we always be more concerned with His glory than our own. And may we be willing to labor for future visions that we might never see come to fruition in our lifetime.