Ok, all of you architects, engineers, contractors and developers, pay attention and get out your calculators. It’s time to evaluate the scope of two very important projects.
Our first site is located in Jerusalem. It’s a very significant development—the original Temple, God’s house. The specs are detailed in the blueprints that have been preserved in I Kings 5 and 6. In short, the structure was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. (Note: ancient civilizations typically used the long cubit, about 19.8 to 20.6 inches) Also note the project schedule. It took seven years to complete the construction of the Holy Place.
Our second site is also located in Jerusalem. It’s Solomon’s house, constructed after the Temple was completed. The specs and schedule can be found in 1 Kings 7. In summary, the structure was 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. It took thirteen years to complete the construction of this majestic palace.
Have you done the math, completed the calculations? Solomon did a noble thing, building a temple where the Israelites could worship God and the glory of God would be recognized by the rest of the world. Interesting, isn’t it, that he spent almost twice as long to build a personal residence that was twice the size of the temple?
Despite all the wisdom and wealth God granted to Solomon, scripture reveals that Solomon eventually turned away from God. At some point, he crossed a line—from serving the Lord’s purposes to serving his own desires. From 1 Kings 3:10-14, where God commended him for his prayer for discernment and wisdom . . . to 1 Kings 11:9 where Samuel laments, “Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.”
In the marketplace, there is always “a line” before us—on one side is healthy ambition and on the other side is selfish greed. On one side is a desire to do excellent work, make a contribution to our communities and build God’s kingdom; and on the other side is a decision to serve only our own interests. Sometimes I wonder about the significance of spending more on Solomon’s house than on God’s. Wasn’t Solomon aware that these two structures exposed that he placed more value on his own name than God’s glory? After all, he was the wisest man on earth.
That makes me wonder about my own self-awareness . . . and my answers to these probing questions: Am I diligently keeping guard over my heart, or have I let down my defenses? What do I spend most of my time thinking and dreaming about? What do I really value most, not just say I value?
The Bible provides a prescription for restoring healthy ambition:
(this one stings) “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10
“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33).
If God has blessed you materially today, thank God and keep your eyes on Him. Be generous with your resources and make kingdom investments in other people. Cling to integrity, pursue excellence and “work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23)
If you are struggling financially today, thank God for all the ways He has blessed your life and keep your eyes on Him. Be generous with your time and gifts and make kingdom investments in other people. Cling to integrity, pursue excellence and preach Colossians 3:23 to yourself every day.
Finally, always remain aware of the line.
Serving Him with you in the marketplace,
Lord, sometimes I feel like I cross back and forth over “the line” numerous times in a week. You tell me to keep guard over my soul, but I’m asking You to protect me from the trap of loving money more than You. Stir my heart to a greater ambition to serve You faithfully, and make You known throughout my business network and personal life. You must increase and I must decrease.
“True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the profound desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.” Bill Wilson