Knowing Where The Line Is

Attention all architects, engineers, contractors and developers! Time to get out your calculators 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 built by King Solomon of Israel. The specs are detailed in the blueprints found in I Kings 5 and 6 of the Bible. The structure was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. (Note: the long cubit was about 19.8 to 20.6 inches) Also note the project schedule of 7 years to complete the temple (1 Kings 6:38)

Our second site is also located in Jerusalem. It is Solomon’s palace and adjacent halls. The schedule and specs are in 1 Kings 7. The structure was 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high, and took 13 years to build. Have you completed the calculations and the math?

Solomon had an honorable motivation, to honor God’s name and create a “home” for Him. Now the Israelites could worship God and make Him known around the world. And yet . . . the house Solomon built for himself was twice the size of the Temple and took almost twice as long to construct. Interesting.

Scripture reveals that despite the wisdom and wealth that God generously granted to Solomon, he eventually turned away from God. We are not told exactly when it happened, but at some point Solomon crossed a line—between serving the Lord’s purposes and serving his own desires. From 1 Kings 3:10-14 where God commended Solomon for his prayer for discernment and wisdom to the sad report in 1 Kings 11:9: “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 our modern marketplace, there is always another “line” drawn between healthy ambition and selfish greed. One side is the desire to serve God’s Kingdom and the other is the temptation to serve ourselves above the Lord.

I keep wondering about the significance of Solomon spending more on his palace than God’s house. Did that one decision reveal an unconscious desire to make his name known just a little more than God’s? Perhaps Solomon wasn’t as self-aware as he assumed–after all he was still human. Perhaps I’m not as self-aware as I would like to believe, either.

Let’s ask ourselves a few challenging questions:

Am I protecting my heart (Proverbs 4:23) or have I let down my guard? What do I spend most of my time dreaming about? What do I really value, not just say I value?

The Bible provides a prescription for healthy ambition:

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

God’s Word also warns us about the deception of wealth, power and fame:

“The love of money [not money itself] is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

“For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life–is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:16-17)

If God has blessed you materially in this season, thank Him and stay focused on Him. Be generous and make Kingdom investments in others. Cling to integrity, pursue excellence and preach Colossians 3:23 to yourself every day. If you are struggling financially, at this time, thank God for all the ways He is at work for your good and lean on Him. Be generous with your time and make Kingdom investments in others. That’s the bottom line today!

Serving Him with you in the marketplace,

David Atchison

Lord, sometimes I feel like I cross that line (at least in my mind) numerous times a week or day. I am asking Your Spirit to guard my heart and alert me about that. Protect me from loving money, not being a better steward of it. Stir up in my heart 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. Amen.

“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