January 01, 2007

Give a Little (or a Lot)

1 Kings 11:41-12:20

Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king. 1 Kings 11:43


Solomon was king during Israel's "golden age" (970-930 B.C.). But he allowed false religions to creep into the land of God's people, and when he died, his son Rehoboam became king. Things were not golden for long.

At the very beginning of Rehoboam's reign, the kingdom split in two like a lightning-struck tree. If Rehoboam had just been a bit kinder and reduced his power-taxes; if, in the words of an old James Taylor song, he had "cooled his head and warmed his heart," the people might have stayed with him.

Rehoboam asked two groups of people for advice. One group encouraged him to serve his people with kindness. The other encouraged him to force the people into serving him. He took the advice of the second group, and in a few days his kingdom crumbled.

As you start this new year, you probably want to succeed. Almost any best-selling corporate guru will tell you how to power-trip your way to the top. Most of the Israelite rulers after Solomon could have written the same tired garbage.

Jesus, the ruler of all kings (Revelation 1:5) humbled and emptied himself (Philippians 2:5-8). The way to truly succeed--in all your relationships with others--is to be different from Rehoboam. Humble yourself. Be kind. Make sacrifices. Give--and not just a little. Give a lot.

Father, make me more like Jesus. Help me to give as Jesus gives. Make me your servant this year. Fill me with the strength to care about others and serve them for your sake. Amen.

About the author — Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes serves as pastor at Highland Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Michigan. Keith and his wife, Alicia, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary,
and they are thankful for their three children—Eben, Charis, and Breanna.

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