“David’s Last Words: His Legacy”
1 Kings 2:1-4, 6-9
Rev. Sandy Johnson
September 18, 2016
Our sermon this morning is the final in the series on King David. This morning we’re looking at legacy, the legacy that David left to his descendants and ultimately to us. We will also consider our personal legacies and the legacy our church will leave in the community.
Let’s begin by defining legacy. Merriam Webster’s dictionary says that a legacy is “a gift by will especially of money or other personal property: a bequest; or something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” For our purposes today we will be looking at the second definition. Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor. Something we will transmit or share with others, after we are gone. As we begin, I want you to think about what Boulder City will look if our church closed today. What would town look like in 10 years without us? 20 years. 50 years. What will it look like if we continue to serve, live, love and grow? 10 years. 20 years. 50 years from now?
This morning I would like to share with you four ways to leave a legacy The legacy of Excellence, of Encouragement, of Purpose & of Love.
A Legacy of Excellence: A Legacy of Excellence means we strive to be our best, every day. “St. Francis of Assisi said, “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless your preaching is your walking.” As we strive for excellence we also inspire excellence in others. We serve as role models to our children, our friends and colleagues. One person in pursuit of excellence raises the standards and behaviors of everyone around them. Our life is our greatest legacy.” We only have this one life; and so it is up to us to give it all we can.
David left a legacy of excellence. David had lived his life to his upmost potential. Under his leadership the tribes of Israel were united and they defeated their enemy, the Philistines who had threatened Israel for years. He “made Jerusalem the political and spiritual center of life in Israel. The Ark of the Covenant was given an honored place in the new capital. Under David’s military leadership, Israelite territory grew to its greatest dimensions. During this time, the nation of Israel was the dominant power in the ancient Near East.” David was a great King and left a legacy of excellence for his son Solomon to follow.
Our church is leaving a legacy of excellence by being a leader in our community. We have servants volunteering in a number of local charities, bring food to the homebound, assisting at the Sr. Center and serving meals to homeless with Family Promise. We helped to create an organization to help our LGBTQ sisters and brothers and their families. We have organized a peace protest with Women in Black and are now offering a pumpkin patch to bring a bit the fall season to our community. We strive to serve in excellency in all that we do.
Our second legacy is A Legacy of Encouragement: A legacy of encouragement is a choice we all have to lift others up, or to bring them down. Are we a ray of sunshine that shines when we enter a room, or a dark cloud of negativity follow us where ever we go? In twenty years will others remember how you encouraged them? Or discouraged them? I remember when I was in college one of my friends’ mothers died. I was with her when she got the phone call and sat with her as she cried and screamed. It was a defining moment for her. For me it was an opportunity to be at the right place at the right time and bring comfort to a friend. More than 20 years later we saw each other and she reminded me of that day. She told me how much my being there had helped her in that awful moment. Who will we encourage today? We can all strive to be the person that five, ten or twenty years from now someone will call and say, “Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Laying on his death bed, David encouraged his son with the deliverance of his final testament; his final oracle to his son, the next king. David said, be strong, courageous and walk in the ways of the Lord. Follow the commandments, ordinances and testimonies and you will prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. Good advice from a father to a son.
But David also lived his life encouraging others with the legacy of 73 of our Psalms, a lasting legacy of encouragement to all of us today. I was encouraged by David’s work this week. Recently I have felt under an attack or engaged in a spiritual warfare. Ever feel like you’re under an attack? As we step out in faith and reach new people for Christ, we may meet with resistance, opposition, and challenges. I have seen it time and time again as the churches and organizations I have been involved with come into alignment with the will of God, and opposition rears its ugly head.
I have to believe that we are onto something here. We are listening to and following God’s will for our church and we will likely face challenges, but not challenges we can’t overcome. Our God is greater than any opposition, resistance or challenge we come up against. Let me give you just one example from this week. I won’t tell you about my outlook that was down all week, or the email from a colleague berating me for not helping him, for being un-grace-filled and suggesting that maybe I had something against him.
I’ll save those stories for another day. Today I want to share an experience JJ had. Friday night, JJ was on his way home from work with the church flatbed trailer loaded with pallets for us to use at the pumpkin patch. As he was coming up US 95 near Horizon, he got a flat on the church trailer. The trailer full of pallets. When he tried to change the tire he discovered that the spare was flat and he didn’t have the correct size of wrench that was needed. So he unhooked the trailer and set out to the auto parts to get a new wrench so he could remove both the spare and the flat tire. He came home, three hours late with the intention of getting it fixed in the morning.
Saturday morning early, he took the spare and the flat tire to Big O, and they fixed them. He went back to the trailer and when he arrived he noticed that the one “good” tire was also flat. That was ok though, he had the spare and the one good tire so he was set. Except that when he tried to put the spare on, he realized it wasn’t the right size wheel for the trailer. It didn’t fit. So he unhooked the trailer again, and took the spare and the other flat tire back to Big O, this time to the Henderson store.
When he arrived at the store, it was busy; it’s Saturday afternoon. They said it would be at least an hour before they could look at it. They told him they would need to charge him $20.00 to switch it. JJ started to get impatient explaining that he had just bought the tires at their BC store and couldn’t he just switch it, no charge. The man started to get snarky and JJ apologized to him. He owned his own frustration at the two-day ordeal he had been going through with the trailer and sat down to wait.
He called me at this point to give me an update. I was able to share that at that very same moment in my sermon preparation, I was working on this portion about leaving a legacy of encouragement. I had just found Psalm 141 and read it. It was exactly what I needed, so I shared it with JJ over the phone. I’d like to share a portion Psalm 141 with you.
Prayer for Preservation from Evil
A Psalm of David.
1 I call upon you, O Lord; come quickly to me;
give ear to my voice when I call to you.
2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.
8 But my eyes are turned toward you, O God, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; do not leave me defenseless.
9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me,
and from the snares of evildoers.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I alone escape.
Both of us were calmed by the encouragement we received from the Psalm. About five minutes later JJ called back to tell me that the man that told him it would be an hour went ahead and fixed the tire. He was done in just a few minutes. David’s legacy of encouragement is a gift to all of us.
As a church community how can we be a gift of encouragement to others? Our new after-school program is an opportunity for us to leave a legacy of encouragement. The children are learning about God and Jesus and spending time having fun together. There is no greater legacy we can leave than in the lives of children, introducing them to God and helping them to have a firm foundation as they grow and learn.
That leads us to A Legacy of Purpose happens when we are energized and use our strengths and talents for a purpose beyond ourselves. “To leave a legacy of purpose, we are to make our life about something bigger than ourselves. While we’re not going to live forever we can live on through the legacy we leave and the positive impact we make in the world. Just this week PFLAG of Boulder City decided they would create a PFLAG Youth program since the High School wasn’t having a Gay-Straight Alliance this year. Volunteers from our church, who are dedicated to this purpose, have come together to put on an event and an ongoing program where these LGBTQ youths and their friends can come to hang out in a safe environment.
David’s legacy of purpose was to continue to build on the legacy of encouragement and excellence. It was his purpose to put Solomon into power so he would continue the reign that David had enjoyed. The second part of our scripture this morning shows David telling Solomon how to manage two specific situations; David was giving Solomon his best foreign policy advice.
That leaves us with the opportunity to leave A Legacy of Love. David loved Bathsheba and he demonstrate his love for her in his lasting legacy of anointing their son Solomon to be king. When I think of a legacy of love, I can’t help but think about my dad. Although he rarely said the words, “I love you,” he showed me he loved me every day. He was always there for me and pushed me when I needed it. He demonstrated kindness to others. He would give others the shirt off his back and I am thankful that I received that legacy from him, a sincere desire to demonstrate love to others. We are asked to share love with one another and that is probably the simplest thing to do; simple but not easy. We are called to allow God’s love to flow through us to those we come in contact with and those who need it the most.
Our church is often described as friendly and welcoming. I like to think that we genuinely demonstrate love for one another. I see love demonstrated when I see people taking a meal to someone when they are ill, or driving a friend back and forth to the hospital for chemo treatments. I’ve seen people drive a friend to and from work when they were unable to drive. I’ve seen others help with a home remodeling project, pay off loans, provide gas when money was tight, and support for one another when going through difficult times. Our church community is a family. Only better than a family because we don’t generally have the drama that goes along with a family! We are what I would consider a loving, functioning family!
We are called to leave a legacy, both for ourselves personally and as a church community. Take some time this week to pray about and think about how you are creating a lasting legacy. I challenge all of us to evaluate our legacies and see if there is anything that we can do to make our legacies more impactful.
I’d like all of us to leave a small legacy today to remember this day, to remember our lesson on legacy by leaving your fingerprint on this tree. Together we make a beautiful legacy, a beautiful tree and it is my hope that everyone will put their stamp on the tree. There are six different colors of “green” and they will be on the counter as you leave the chapel. Please take the time to add to this legacy tree. I plan to take the tree home and frame it for our church to have as a lasting legacy of our current congregation and our message today.
Let us pray: Lord God, inspire us to be the best we can be and to leave a legacy that is worthy of you. Whether it’s a legacy of excellence, encouragement, purpose or love, give us the courage to boldly live into your will for our lives and trust in you for the details. Amen
 http://www.ministrymatters.com/library/#/basicbiblecom/9fa81e4f21768d5ee55b683d36140c31/1-and-2-kings.html. Accessed September 16, 2016