1 Kings 6:12-13
“As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, carry out my regulations and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel."
On June 17, Christians around Mega Manila will surely cluster around Ortigas Center for a taste of beautiful music and have a touch of Prasia’s newest album “What is Important’! Yes, it’s their much awaited 8th album launch! As a group, their focus is to minister to the Filipino diaspora through concert tours, trainings, and missions. Now as individuals, they are the faith-living, fun-loving bunch whom I can so relate to, and regard as friends. Kuya Daniel (we call him Kuya Pong) years back was singing with Windsong, so it’s kinda like our two singing groups were relatives, hehe :> Reading their FB posts today, all the pressures and paraphernalias of preparation, brings back memories of what I went through a decade ago. Although it was far from iTouch on the left and laptop on the right, that time was more like PCs and inkjet printers :> But beyond the workload is the struggle to keep your heart right - - to choose to be overwhelmed by His gracious hand, not the giant task at hand; and to never allow worry to rob me of my worship. For in the end, when the lights and claps are gone, when attendance and sales have been accounted for, when your friends already said their ‘well done’ and your group have called it ‘success’ - - God is there to ask you if you did ‘what is important’. I didn’t score well back then.
On the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, after the transition phase of Israel’s government was settled, the Temple building project commenced. Verse 7 writes that the blocks were already dressed, meaning, the king had pre-project constructions supervised. Another reason is that so no hammer, chisel and iron tool was heard on the building site. It’s the good leader in our time doing research, meeting people, making powerpoints, and ready with a couple of options before calling everyone for a planning meeting. With that, we can somehow expect a peaceful time for everyone, right? Seven years was spent building God's house. In the middle of the chapter, His word came to Solomon to encourage him of the promise, and to remind of what is important. ‘Follow my decrees, carry out my regulations, keep all my commands - -and I will not abandon you’. Abandon?!! You mean disregarding the whole project even if it’s shining gold, and artistically excellent, and by far, high end? Not to mention all the many sacrifices and funding and time used up, seriously? God will just put all those aside if He is not pleased with the people’s hearts? Uhm, yes. He made it clear as early as Samuel’s time: “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” The temple is to bring us closer to Him, and if in doing so our hearts went farther from Him, it defeats His purpose.
Our projects on hand may not be comparable to Prasia’s concert production, but we share in their full schedules and demands here and there. Our days are spent working on a relationship, or making ends meet, finishing our studies or attending to our family’s needs. All are worthwhile and God-glorifying tasks. But again, God is pro-process and not merely product-oriented. His eye is on our hearts, more than what our hands can do. He called Mary’s sitting as better than Martha’s busyness. He chose David's psalms over Saul's height and outward appearance. He desires worship, not our work. Us not our gifts. In two weeks time, Prasia will be singing ‘What is Important'. I pray that each us will choose with them, and please the One most important. Mark it on your every sched :>