“And David the king said to all the assembly, ‘Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the LORD God. So I have provided for the house of my God […].” (1 Chronicles 29:1-2)
At some point during David’s reign over Israel, he had the idea to build a temple for God. It bothered him that he had a nice house while the ark of the covenant sat in a simple tent. But when he sought God’s direction on the matter, God told him a temple wouldn’t be a project for him. He had fought too many wars and shed too much blood to build something so holy as God’s house. David’s heir, however, would be a man of peace, and he would be the one to build the temple.
David was content with this command. But though he wouldn’t actually get to build the temple, God hadn’t said anything about preparations for it. Throughout the rest of his reign, David gathered materials and dedicated his own treasures to the temple, getting everything ready for his son Solomon’s reign, when construction could finally begin. By the time Solomon took the throne, he didn’t have to worry about any of the preparatory work. David had done this job thoroughly, and all that remained was to build.
David must have been at least a little disappointed that he wouldn’t get to see the temple. After all, it was his dream, and he truly wanted to honor God with it. But instead of becoming angry and refusing to do anything else with the temple, he decided to do all he could to help Solomon build. If he hadn’t spent all those years in preparation, Solomon would have had to do everything, and it would have been many more years before the actual construction could begin. As it was, however, David and Solomon worked together, contributing in different ways to the same goal. Neither part was more important than the other; if Solomon hadn’t built the temple, David’s preparations would have been for nothing. Both honored God with what they had, and the result was something that would glorify Him for generations to come.
In 1 Corinthians 3:6, the Apostle Paul addresses this issue, writing, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” He acknowledges that both he and Apollos, one of his fellow workers, were contributing in different ways to the same ultimate goal. Paul was content to sow the seed of the Gospel and let Apollos pick up where he left off, because he viewed their relationship as a partnership. He did what he could do, Apollos did the next step, and all the while God was working through both of them to bring about the finished product.
So often, we want to be involved in every aspect of a task. We want to see it through from beginning to end, having a hand in every single little detail. If we have to let someone else do something, we might get frustrated. After all, this is our task, our idea. How dare someone else have the presumption to work with it? But the thing is, we’re usually not supposed to do everything on our own. Nearly everything that has any permanence is the result of a group effort, in which people work together on jobs that match their skills to create a harmonious whole. The result is something far greater than anything they could have made individually. Everyone brings something different to the table, and when we’re willing to work with others and admit that we can’t and shouldn’t do everything, the finished product is well worth seeing. David could have pouted over not being able to actually build the temple, but he chose to contribute in whatever way he could. He prepared, Solomon constructed, and God received the glory. This formula still holds true today. What things can you start today that, if shared with others, will result in something incredible for God?