Have you ever heard Acts 13:36 stated as a goal? I’m referring to that little part of Paul’s message he was preaching in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia where he said, “For David, after he had served his own generation…”
I have heard some state that as their aspiration in life. I like that. That’s a really good mark to reach for. If you’ll read the context you will quickly see that Paul was making the point that Jesus fulfilled Psalm 16:10 for He was risen from the dead though David was dead and buried, but, it is still a great idea on its own that “David served his own generation.”
We need to be sure that we see how David served his own generation though, otherwise we might just come up with some ideas that make sense to us but are really not what “our generation” truly needs according to God.
When I say “ideas that might make sense to us” I am actually thinking of “ministries” that I have been personally confronted with–things like money-raising marathons, Christian movies, para-church mission boards, comic-book “Bibles”, Bible societies, Christian universities, and on and on I could go. I’m sure you get the point.
So, you want to “serve your generation” like David? Then you’ve got to do it “by the will of God.” Check it out. That’s the next part of Paul’s statement.
It would be good to look back at verse 22 of the same chapter where Paul said that God said, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.”
There’s another line that sure is thrown around a lot by believers: “a man after mine own heart.” Amen! But do we understand what that means? God knew that kind of man would fulfill God’s will. That is what the rest of that verse says.
Ok, back to verse 36–David served his generation by doing God’s will. Maybe you are wondering, “How do I know God’s will? Should I look for an experience or a feeling? Maybe a strong emotion or impression? A sign? Should I just go with common sense?”
I would suggest reading Psalm 119 and seeing how David knew God’s will. You will find that he understood it to be the Scriptures. You should also look at Psalm 40:8 where David wrote, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Can it get any plainer than that? The Bible is God’s will. If you obey the Bible you are doing God’s will. That’s right; it is actually very simple.
Pardon a personal illustration, but how do my seven children know my will? I communicate it to them! Simple, right? I reveal my heart by my words. They don’t have to “pray about” what I’ve plainly told them to do or not do. They know my will and they either do it or they don’t.
I have heard and read some who state (often with great passion and tears) that they want to serve their generation like David did but then I notice that they don’t concern themselves with much of what the Bible reveals. They just come up with plans and say God “told them to…” Sadly, they even respond to someone who shows them from Scripture that their “service” is not really “by the will of God” with statements like, “why can’t you just love, and stop criticizing other servants?”
Are they really serving their generation like David if it is not by the will of God, or according to the Scriptures? The Bible says “no.”
Are you really serving your generation like David? It is what this generation needs; not more activities, programs, positions, titles, boards, councils, fellowships, compromises, gimmicks, fund-raisers, or excuses! If you really want to serve like David then you need to be sure you are busy obeying the Bible and resisting the urge to just do your will and label it “ministry.” Do God’s work God’s way, the way the Bible reveals it is to be done. It is “by the will of God” or it is not like David.