5:24,25 “These were the heads of their families: Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah and Jahdiel. They were brave warriors, famous men, and heads of their families. But they were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them.”
1 Chronicles 5:24,25 (NIV)
When do things end well? According to storybook lore, living “happily ever after” means meeting a handsome prince. That determines the good ending.
More seriously, many would argue that ending well means going out on top. A warrior winning his or her last battle (championship or gold medal) defines the ultimate win and his or her legacy.
Everything hinging on competition and wins sure makes for a good story -- but disqualifies every other competitor who does his or her best. All others are losers. There’s no good ending in store for them.
Some would argue based on comparison: Whoever dies with the most toys wins. Riches and fame are glad to show us a happy ending. Problem is, how much is enough to insure the fame we need for things to end really well. How good is good enough?
Still others would argue that good endings are based on influence. Being head of families, teams, communities, businesses, nations surely counts for something.
But it’s hard to exercise sizable influence once a leader leaves office or player/coach leaves a team. Influence rises like the sun and fades like the sun too. (How influential or significant is Millard Fillmore or Tiglath-Pileser I now to you?)
All seven of the men in today’s Scripture had great things going for them to insure a good ending: an undisputed winning record, clear fame and great influence. But it didn’t end well for any of them.
Scripture points to one thing missing: faithfulness.
Their faithfulness to God faded. And it compromised their great ending. These men “prostituted themselves” by adding other gods. They figured that if one is good, two (or more) is better.
And it didn’t end nearly as well for these dudes as they ever would’ve thought. They forgot faithfulness to God and others and it cost them.
It costs us too. Dating other gods and embracing other “cultures” that pose other definitions of how to get a great ending don’t deliver. Instead, let’s remember that faithfulness to God always carries reward. He sees to it.
Faithfulness must get to the center of the story of our lives. That’s when things end best.
Reflect: Which storyline tempts you most to build your life around -- Success? Fame? Power/Influence? Which one wants to be your mistress?
How fully do you realize that any of these will disappoint or ultimately destroy your happy ending if faithfulness to God doesn’t come first? How can you clearly express your faithfulness to God today?
A prayer to consider: O Father, You are so faithful in Your love and forgiveness to me. Spirit of God, help me to be faithful before You and with others.
Protect my most important relationships. Help me make faithfulness a priority, a premium. I don’t want to date around or be seduced by other gods.
I want to be known above all as a faithful person -- for Your glory and my joy. Amen.