Wanna Be a Success? by Pastor Andy

2 Samuel 6:16-22

16But as the Ark of the lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the lord, she was filled with contempt for him.

17They brought the Ark of the lord and set it in its place inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. 18When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes.

20When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”

21David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. 22Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!”

Wanna Be a Success?

I just finished David McCullough’s book on the Wright brothers. As the story unfolded, I couldn’t help but think about Orville and Wilbur, “They were geniuses.”

Their gifting seemed above and beyond the normal person. They taught themselves the physics of flying, figuring out lift, thrust and other aviation theories with little or no help. They built a motor from scratch. They constructed multiple airplanes by hand. Orville and Wilbur seemed to have an unnatural ability – unfair to everyone around them.

Then I listened to an interview with another author, Malcolm Gladwell.

Charlie Rose interviewed Gladwell after the release of this book Outliers. In Outliers, Gladwell studies people like Bill Gates and the Beatles. He wanted to know why they were successful when so many from their generation with the same advantages (or more) were not. Orville and Wilbur were not a part of the study, but they easily could have been.

In the interview, Rose asks the question, “Aren’t some people just much more naturally gifted, talented, able?”

The Story of Saul and David

It’s a wonderful question. Aren’t some people successful because they have something more than the rest of us?

I’ve been reading the stories of the first two kings of Israel – Saul and David. From a distance, appears this is the case with them. David has something more than Saul. So David is wildly successful, and Saul is a bumbling misfit.

Gladwell gave a surprising answer to the question.

Yes, some people do have natural abilities or talents that others don’t, but it’s not the difference maker. Intelligence, talent, ability – this all make up a minority of why people succeed. It is far from the majority of why people succeed.

It’s true of Saul and David.

Saul is no less anointed or gifted than David. Saul is described as tall, dark and handsome (seriously). Men easily follow him into battle. He is a warrior. On top of all of that, read what 1 Samuel 15:17 has to say about him,

And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The lord has anointed you king of Israel.

The Spirit of God is on Saul. I believe Saul never really believed this to be true. He never could see himself as the man everyone else around him saw. Add these things together, and Saul became a rudderless leader who squandered opportunity after opportunity to be truly successful.

David was also gifted, and no more than Saul. David was also anointed, and no more than Saul. But David was the greatest king of Israel – far greater than Saul

How Bad Do You Want It?

Malcolm Gladwell describes in both the book and the interview a story about young Bill Gates. As a teenager, Gates discovered the nearby University of Washington had a mainframe computer. This super computer sat unused between the hours of 2AM and 6AM every night.

In his passion for programing, Gates would wake himself up every night at 1:30AM, get out of bed, walk 2 miles to the university and program for 4 hours.

Gladwell admits Gates had both ability and access others didn’t. It isn’t what made him successful. What made Bill Gates a success was his passion and desire to program. His passion drove him out of bed in the middle of the night to walk 2 miles and sit a computer. His drive created Microsoft.

David wasn’t better than Saul. He had more passion for God.   

David longed to be in the presence of God, and the opening story sums up his desire for God. David was willing to dance in the streets in underwear. He was willing to be a fool. He was violently passionate for God.

It drove him not just to be the greatest king in the history of Israel, it also led him to be called, “a man after God’s own heart.”

As a believer in Jesus, you have the same anointing as David. The Holy Spirit on you like it was on them. The question is how passionate are you for God? What will you passion drive you to do, be, say?

Yesterday, Pastor David asked the question,

“What can you bring to the Lord?”

Today, I ask the same question, but with a twist.

“How passionate are you to bring that thing to God?”

At the Cross | Chris Tomlin

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