For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep. Acts 13:36
One of the greatest tragedies in life is to get very close to reaching your goal, arriving at your full potential, accomplishing what you set out to do, only to fall short of what you wanted to do. It's always sad to have to quit a few hundred meters short of the top, or to get so very close to winning, only to have victory snatched from your grasp.
Unrealized goals! Unfulfilled potential--what a tragedy! With a sigh we speak of, "The man he might have been," or "the woman she could have been!"
You tell me what your heart yearns to do, what you think about when you lie awake unable to sleep in the night hours, and I'll tell you what kind of a person you really are. If money consumes your thinking, you are materialistic. If you think only of revenge, you're angry and bitter. If your thoughts are of God and how you can serve Him, you are a person of spiritual sensitivity and dedication.
When I interview people, I often close the interview by asking, "At the end of your life, how would you like to be remembered?" Answers tell a lot about the person who responds to that question.
A thousand years after David, the king of ancient Israel, lived, Luke, one of the writers of the New Testament, included a few thoughts about how David was remembered. He wrote, "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep..." (Acts 13:36). Another translation adds a single phrase which injects even more meaning. It reads, "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation according to the will of God, he fell asleep" (Nestle's Greek text). The overview of history is often so much different from how we appear in the smoke and dust of the battle.
For a few moments, measure your life against the bench mark of what Luke wrote about David. First, he served God's purpose. Now translate this to our generation: to your family, your work place, your neighborhood where you live and sleep. Would you say that you are accomplishing God's purpose for your life? Or would you have to say that you fall far short of accomplishing God's purposes?
You may be asking, "What is God's purpose for my life?" Good question! There's a whole book which answers that one. It's called the Bible, and it explains very clearly what God's purpose is for your life in simple, easy-to-understand language.
The second thought is that David was responsible only for his own generation. You can't do anything about what took place a hundred years ago, or even a generation ago. That's history, but you can do something about your generation, today, the world in which you live.
Some think, mistakenly, that the sum total of their influence in life is zero. Not true! Every person, no matter how humble or insignificant, influences somebody. You, like David, can serve God's purpose, touching someone, making a difference.
A final thought. David served God's purpose according to the will of God. That's a powerful thought. "Does God have a will for my life?" you may be wondering. The Bible says He does. The writers of Scripture contend that what happens to your life is of great importance to our Heavenly Father. Paul wrote, "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is" (Ephesians 5:15-17). There you have it--a life of purpose touching our generation according to the will of God!
Resource reading: Ephesians 5:1-20
Sermon Topics: Purpose