Good afternoon. Those of you who have been coming, regularly, to our Sunday afternoon worship, know that we have been studying the life of David for a long time, now. We have come almost to the end of his life and we continue, this afternoon, in 2 Samuel, Chapter 21. As you turn there, let me say that I envision four more lessons, here, in the book and we’ll be done. II Samuel 21. I will be starting at verse 15. I read, “….” Now the Philistines had been the major enemy of Israel, for a long, long time. In the latter years of David’s life, though, they had been quite calm. But now we read that, suddenly, the Philistines decided to war again. And now, they start fighting against David’s army. And David does exactly what he has always done. He puts on his sword; he takes the lead; and he starts to fight. One of the amazing qualities of David is “He is a fighter!” He will not send some to do things he wouldn’t do himself. He is a true leader. I wonder, sometimes, how things would turn out, if our leaders had to carry their own wars. I wonder how many decisions would change, if our lawmakers would be the first ones to abide by it. You know, today, that we have leaders who are quick to send men to die on the battlefield; but who admit that they, themselves, fled when it was time to fight. David was not like that. From his youth, he was first, on the battlefield. He was the first one to fight Goliath. He was the first one to lead Saul’s army. And this time is no exception. He straps on that sword and he goes to fight. But this time it is different. Something has changed. It’s never been like this before! In the midst of the battle, David becomes exhausted. He grows weary in the fight. I don’t know if that means he became winded or that he could no longer handle that sword. Perhaps he got the shakes we sometimes get. But the text says he is weary and exhausted. And now, there is a man, a Philistine named Ishbi-Benob, who sees him. He is from Gath, that city where Goliath came from. And that man, Ishbi-Benob, is no exception to his heritage. He also has grown very tall and very strong! He sees David growing tired and he says, “ I’ll get David; now is a good time! What a prize!” Can you imagine being the Philistine who would defeat David? David has been the worst enemy, in generations. What a prestige his head would bring! What likely fame and wealth would come to the one who would defeat David!
So, the Philistine takes his spears and goes for David! And then there is Abishai Naishai, the faithful! Abishai has always been by the side of David. For as long as we can remember, he was there! When David was running from Saul, Abishai was there. When David was that new king, Abishai was there. When David had to flee his palace, his city, because of his wicked son, Absalom, Abishai was right by his side. When a man named Shimei was calling a curse on David, when Shimei was insulting the king in his plight, it was Abishai who said, “David let me go kill him.” When troublemakers arose and the kingdom split because of jealousy, it was Abishai who ran to take care of it. And now Abishai is still there, faithful to his post. What a friend! And he sees his king about to be killed and he runs to the rescue. With new strength and new zeal, he cuts his way through; he knocks the Philistine down; and he kills this giant. The battle ends and the soldiers now realize how close they have come to tragedy. They say, “Never again, David! Never again do we want to take a chance!” They say, “David you are the lamp of Israel and we don’t want that lamp to go out! So you will never lead us again!
Now, you and I, we know the trouble, this afternoon. The trouble is David is getting old. He is no more that young man! The rivers of time have flowed by and the seasons of life have passed. Life is not eternal; youth is not eternal; and that is why many poets have divided our life stages into the seasons of life. They have called youth, the springtime. This springtime usually refers to the time when you are young, when you have all the dreams and all the excitement that life provides. This springtime is the time you are willing to try, almost any thing. And then they have called the next stage, the summer of life. This stage is the one in which you begin to build your family, in which you begin to build your career. It is the time when you are highly productive. But then, there is the fall of life. That’s the time in life, around your mid 40’s, when you reach the height of your career., when you start thinking about retirement. And of course, that stage leads to the winter of life. It is the time when you find the white hair. It is the time when the joints don’t work as they used to work. It is the time when the eyes don’t see as far as they used to see. It is the time when the ears don’t hear, quite the same, when you don’t come and go as you used to.
And now, David is probably in the beginning of the winter season. And he is exhausted because he is getting old. And I think this leads us to some important lessons, for this afternoon. Because, as David is old, he is still living life, biting into it with all of his might! And I learn from it that life has to be approached a certain way. That it ought to be viewed with a certain look. We, first, must understand that life is precious. That it is a gift from God. And then, we must see that because of it, we must live it with all of our might! We must “seize the day” as the great poets would say. “Carpe diem!” is the motto. There is no reason for us to give up and say, ”I am going to sit on my couch and, slowly, die watching my TV” or “I might as well commit suicide!” Now I want to show you that, by giving you four reasons why we should live our lives with all of our might!
I. Days will pass whether you sit bored or enjoy them, so make the most of it.
The first one is this: “Whether you live life with all of your might or whether you chose the days of your life, they are still going to pass. Whether you use them or not, the days of your life are passing. I can see that in my own life. The springtime has passed and now I am in the beginning of the summer of life. I see it in the lives of old men and ladies, like Sam Tardo, who are in the 8th decade. And I see it in the lives of men, who are in their 50’s. That is why so many of my elders love to tell me, “You ought to spend as much time as you possibly can with your family, with your children, while you have them. Because, before you know it, they are gone!”
I want to tell you a story that illustrates the point, this afternoon. There is this man, who is walking in the jungle. And all of a sudden, he hears something behind him. He turns and sees that it is a tiger. And then he hears some noise and he sees two more tigers coming from the right and the left. There are now three very hungry tigers behind him. So he starts running and they start chasing him. The man is running with all his might. Finally, he comes to the edge of a cliff. He sees a large vine lying on the ground. So he takes it and throws it down the cliff. He grabs it and starts to lower himself down. But about halfway down the side of the cliff, he looks down and he sees more hungry tigers. Now he doesn’t know what to do. He is hanging on the vine, halfway down the cliff, suspended between the hungry tigers on the bottom and the hungry tigers back at the top. But as he is hanging, wondering, he looks straight up and there comes a mouse, from a hole in the rock. And the mouse begins to chew at his vine. He is, now, very nervous. There are tigers below, tigers above and, now, this mouse is eating away at his vine. So, he looks to the left and there he sees a bush growing from the side of the cliff. On the bush is a bright, red, ripe raspberry. So he thinks for a while and finally he reaches for the berry and eats it!
That, I think, illustrates most of our lives and the way we should be. See, there are tigers in our past. And we can’t go back. And the future is equally hopeless. We can’t go that way either. We can’t hope to escape. We will eventually die. So we hang on the vine that is called “today”. But a little mouse also eats away at our vine of time, at our today. So the only option, what we ought to do, is reach out and eat the berries that are offered today and enjoy them with all our might!
See, whether you live with all of your might, or not, your days are going to pass. That is why Paul was saying in Eph. 4:15, “….” What Paul was saying was you reach out and you take the days you have left and you live them with all of your might.
II. Live with all of your might because everyday it becomes harder to fulfill your dreams.
But there is a second reason why we ought to live with all of our might. That’s because desires and energies are fleeting. See, I’ve noticed that one of the things, that make life so much worth living, is to be able to have a dream in life, to pursue that dream and have that dream become true. But I also found this. With every dream, for that dream to come true, there is a price to pay. There is a sacrifice to make. And I’ve found that, as time goes on, people are less willing to pay the price, to make the sacrifice, to have those dreams come true. I have as many dreams, today, and as many desires as I have ever had! I have as many dreams and desires as I had when I was in my springtime! And yet, I am finding that I am not as willing, now, to pay the price as I was back then, to make the dreams come true. Yes, even at 40 years of age, I already see that the dreams, the desires and the energies to make them come true are somewhat changing. Perhaps it is why the writer of Ecclesiastes says, in his book, in Chapter 12, verse one, “….” See, there are years that come when the energy and the desires fade away.
III. Live with all your might because the next season may never come.
The third reason why we should live, with all of our might, is that there is no guarantee that we’ll ever see another season of our life. If you are waiting, this afternoon, for the next season of your life to live with all of your might, you are very, very foolish. We have funerals, all the time, reminding us of that. Sometimes, it is the funeral of a teen. Sometimes, it’s the funeral of someone in his 20’s. And one of the tragedies of a funeral is that we stand and say, “They’ll not see the summer of life and they’ll not see the fall of life. They’ll never get to enjoy this or that.” And so, it is especially tragic, I think, when people build too much on an uncertain future. James, wanting to remind us of that, says in James 4:13-14, “….” James is telling us how life really is. You don’t know about tomorrow. Life is so very short! You may never see the next season of your life. That is a good reason why you ought to live, now, with all of your might.
IV. Live, with all your might, to give glory to God!
The last reason you ought to live with all of your might is this. We have our lives, today, because God wants us to use it to bring glory to him. And I am convinced that you can do more for God and bring Him more glory if you live with all of your might, than if you don’t. You, young people, have so much in your dreams and in your energy to serve the Lord. So use it. You, who are in the summer, you also have lots to offer. Use it! You are now building your families, building your careers. While your mind is sharp and your life unfolds, if you only live with all of your might, in the name of Jesus, you’ll accomplish great things for His glory. And then, I would like to say to those who are in the autumn of life, while you still have energy and are enjoying the air on top of the world, give glory to God with all of your might. And then, to all of you, this afternoon, who are in the winter of life, remember Caleb, who was 85 years old and did great things, who said to Joshua, at 85, “Today, I am just as strong as I was in that day when Moses sent me over to spy!” And I am just as vigorous for battle, today, as I was then.” Of course, that statement was made knowing that God was on his side. So, he said, to Joshua, “Give me this mountain! I will conquer it!” He knew his life still counted for something!
And I am reminded, now, of all those who sojourn throughout the United States, who still work, everyday, helping churches to subsist, in many places. That shows you what you can do if you are in the winter of life and serve God with all of your might.
So, my plea, this afternoon, is for all of you to take hold of the precious gift God gave you and to live with all of your might, for your Lord! Use what you have, before it passes, because there may not be another season in your life, because you will accomplish so much more than if you wait.
I want to close with this thought. By virtue of my job, I stand week after week, encouraging you to live God’s way! But, maybe I am not always as strong as I could be when I extend the invitation. So, today, I would like to reinforce the need for baptism in your life. You don’t know if tomorrow you’ll be here. As a speaker reminded us, two weeks ago, you don’t know, if tomorrow, you’ll be able to go down in the waters of baptism. While you can, today, commit. Pledge your life to Him as we stand and sing.