All the Members Do Not Have the Same Function

by Bryan Matthew Dockens

King David was told by the Almighty, “Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name” (I Kings 8:18-19).

God acknowledged David’s good intentions when he wanted to construct the house of the Lord. Indeed, the king had observed, “I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains” (II Samuel 7:2). The discrepancy between his own royal palace and the humble tent in which the ark resided was unsettling to him, so he set out to correct the situation. Nevertheless, it was not in God’s plan for David to perform this work. In fact, it was presumptuous for him to take that role upon himself (II Samuel 7:4-7).

The Lord’s reason for withholding the task from him was simple: “David could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the wars which were fought against him on every side” (I Kings 5:3). Whereas David was a man of bloodshed (I Chronicles 22:8; 28:2-3), a man of peace would build the temple. This wasn’t a criticism as much as it was simply a disqualification since David’s combat experience was the fulfillment of divine will in the conquest of the promised land. God just had other plans.

When informed he would not be permitted to construct the temple, David did not pout. Nor did he complain. The king did not rebelliously proceed with his quest. Neither did he turn away from God in anger. He did not attempt to sabotage the efforts of the one who was assigned to build it.

Actually, David’s reaction was exemplary. He did all that he could to prepare the project for his son Solomon to undertake. “He appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails of the doors of the gates and for the joints, and bronze in abundance beyond measure, and cedar trees in abundance” (I Chronicles 22:2-4).

He said to Solomon, “Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the Lord one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the Lord be with you” (I Chronicles 22:14-16). He not only collected supplies for the project, but supported the effort with encouraging words toward his son.

He continued, “Now for the house of my God I have prepared with all my might: gold for things to be made of gold, silver for things of silver, bronze for things of bronze, iron for things of iron, wood for things of wood, onyx stones, stones to be set, glistening stones of various colors, all kinds of precious stones, and marble slabs in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses; the gold for things of gold and the silver for things of silver, and for all kinds of work to be done by the hands of craftsmen” (I Chronicles 29:2-5).

The son of Jesse could have assumed a defeatist attitude when denied the opportunity to build the temple. Instead, he was determined to fulfill a supporting role. Contrast that mindset with others who don’t get their way.

Women are instructed to accept a subordinate role in the church. “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (I Timothy 2:11-12; cf. I Corinthians 14:34-35). Some women reject the will of God in this regard, choosing to usurp the role assigned by God to men. Others, like David, gladly submit in humble obedience, and diligently undertake every supportive role they can find to fulfill.

The elders who oversee the church must meet rather stringent requirements in order to serve in that capacity (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Some members desire the office, yet are simply unqualified. The unrighteous do all they can to undermine the church’s leadership. The David’s in the church, however, uplift the men occupying the position to which they aspire. “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).

Be a David. “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:3-8).