We blunder and stumble in our holiest endeavors
(J. R. Miller, "Life's Byways and Waysides")
"David served his own generation by the will of God." Acts 13:36
It gives dignity and also sacredness to our life — to be serving our generation. Every true-hearted Christian, realizing this truth, seeks to work out God's will in his own character and life. Of course, we cannot do this perfectly, for nothing human is perfect. The artist fails to put all his vision, into his picture.
In all our life we do, even at our best — but a little of the beautiful work we intend and plan. We blunder and stumble in our holiest endeavors. Our clumsy hands mar the lovely ideals which our soul envisions. We set out in the morning with high resolves — but our evening confessions tell of many a shortcoming. We never live any day — as well as we know we should live.
Yet there is a sense in which, without attaining perfection, a Christian may fulfill God's plan for himself. One of the most interesting illustrations of such a life is David's. The Lord says, "I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who shall fulfill all My will." Then in another sentence, we catch the secret of this life which was so complete. We are told that "David served his own generation by the will of God." It is worth our while to look closely at this inspired description of a life which so pleased God — in order that we may learn how to work out the divine will for ourselves.
David "served". Serving is not a favorite word. We naturally resent the idea of serving. It seems to have an ignoble meaning. But really, it is one of the most royal of words. One who has not begun to serve — has not begun to live a godly life! God never yet made a life for selfishness. Jesus came to show us the perfect divine ideal of human living — and He served unto the very uttermost. "I came not to be served — but to serve," was His own declaration of His life's central thought and purpose. When they asked Him who was greatest in His kingdom, He said, "the one who serves." We are to live . . .
not to get — but to give;
not to be helped — but to help;
not to receive — but to bestow.
David served his own generation. Our generation is the entire human family living at the present time on the earth. How can any man serve all his own generation? There are hundreds of millions of people he can never see — how can he do anything for these? One way of serving our own generation, is to fill well the little place which we are assigned in God's providence. We can do most to bless the world at large — by being a true blessing to the little circle in the midst of which we are placed!
Another way in which one may serve his generation, is by giving to it something which will enrich it, which will add to its happiness and good, which will make it better, purer.
Another way in which one may serve his generation, is by showing it an example of godly living:
patience, under trial;
purity and uprightness, under temptation;
love and meekness, under injury and wrong;
and thus, be a purifying, uplifting, enriching influence in the world.
We say we are but little people, and can fill only a little place. We cannot serve our generation in the same large way in which David served his. Yet each individual life has its own distinct place in the plan of God, and each may fill out its own pattern. Even the smallest life lived well — blesses the world.
Every godly deed we do — makes it a little easier for others to do godly deeds, and lifts the standard of living among men a little higher.
Many people are oppressed and disheartened, by the seeming smallness and insignificance of their life. But we can serve our generation by . . .
lightening one burden,
making one heart nobler and stronger,
comforting one sorrow,
guiding one perplexed soul into peace,
showing one bewildered child the path of holiness,
teaching one tempted person how to overcome sin!