1 Chronicles 28:2-3
King David stood tall and spoke: “Listen to me, my people; I fully intended to build a permanent structure for the ark of the covenant of God, God’s footstool. But when I got read to build it, God said to me, ‘You may not build a house to honor me - you’ve done too much fighting - killed too many people.’
It matters how we live. It really, truly matters. United Methodists are all about grace. Martin Luther was right. John Wesley was right. The whole Protestant Reformation was right. Grace is above everything. No matter what you’ve done or how you have lived, God’s love is available. God’s love overlooks the harshest sins of one who repents. No crime is too heinous, no fault is unforgivable, no sin is unforgivable (except that strange saying about the blasphemy of the spirit - which no one really knows what Jesus meant...or even, perhaps, the author putting those words into Jesus’ mouth) that God’s love can’t cover it. OK. That’s it.
But it really does matter how we live. It really does matter that we go out every day and try to bring peace. It really does matter that we stand up to falsehood and lies. It really does matter that we offer love and hospitality. It really does matter that we live in such a way that our death does NOT confer a benefit on the world. We will get no greater reward in heaven (the parable of the workers in the vineyard), we will have no pecking order in heaven, we do not earn brownie points (you might want to look up the etymology of that phrase...it’s not nice), extra credit, greater kudos, silver stars, or medals of freedom. God is not going to love any of us more because of our stellar living.
But I don’t care. It matters how we live. 1 Chronicles really hammers home that David was not allowed to build the temple because he shed too much blood. In his charge to Solomon was not only the charge to build the temple, but to also execute David’s most bitter enemies. Yeah...he wasn’t going to build the temple. Solomon didn’t have the greatest resume, either but then, he was too young to have lived and fought as long and hard as David.
Nevertheless, it matters how we live. It matters that we try to help others. It matters that we stay reasonable. It matters that we love each other. It matters that we wait our turns. It matters that when we go to bed at night, we’re not stressing about how we’ve messed things up. We are never going to have perfectly stellar days all the time. We’re going to say what we shouldn’t say, we’re going to get angry or even make people angry but, on the whole, it matters that we love. It matters that we try to do good things. It matters. We won’t ever get to build a temple because of how we’ve lived....but we will live well in the fellowship of the church because of how we’ve lived. It just matters.
The old Cokesbury Hymnal had a song called “Others” and the chorus was this:
Others, Lord, yes, others -
Let this my motto be;
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee. Amen.
Pastor Rick Moser