The Problem with Good Ideas

Just because something is a good idea doesn’t mean God wants you to do it.

In the upcoming lectionary passage from 2 Samuel 7, David gets the idea to build God a temple. He had gotten himself “settled in his house” and realized that the ark of God still resided in a tent. Why should he live like a king (literally) and God live like a nomad.

This is a valid and even considerate concern. The idea to build God a temple is a good idea. The prophet Nathan, who had a pretty good track record of discerning the will of God and keeping David honest, thought it was a good idea. “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you,” he says (v. 3, NRSV).

Then God comes to Nathan that night in a dream and essentially says, “No.”

There’s lots of great stuff to consider in God’s response that would make compelling points in a sermon or small group discussion. There are also lots of complexities to the issues of calling and purpose.

But this overarching idea is an important one for us to consider in our lives and in our churches/ministries. There are lots of great things we can be doing. There are lots of great things on which to spend our resources of time, money, and energy. Same goes for good things we are already doing.

But that doesn’t mean it is the best thing. It doesn’t mean it is the thing that you are uniquely positioned and equipped to do. It doesn’t mean that it helps you achieve the bigger mission God has called you to.

Getting good ideas and even getting excited about them isn’t something to feel bad about or be afraid of. The problem comes when we skip the step of checking with God in between excitement and action.

Lectionary Connections: Year B Proper 11, Year B Advent 4

Header image by Joshua Earle via Unsplash. Used under Creative Commons License. Cropped from Original.

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