King David was the greatest king Israel ever knew. Even kings can be wrong. Nathan told David a little story about a rich man who had many sheep and riches to spare. The poor man had just one sheep, and that was the pet of the family.
Nathan painted a ruthless, cruel and brutal picture of the rich man who took the poor man’s pet sheep and killed it for a stranger who was a guest of the rich man. David listened intently and saw the picture being painted. David said, “That man is going to die and he is going to repay fourfold what he has taken from the poor man.” It was then that Nathan put the touches on the sad picture. He said, “You are the one who is guilty.” David saw himself and knew that only the grace of God could save him. David said, “I have sinned against thee, oh God, against thee only have I sinned.” David poured out his soul and found forgiveness for his sins.
We must see ourselves as God sees us. Every Christian ought to be an eternal optimist. The Christian has good news. The Christian church has the greatest good news on Earth.
We can read history and discover how one civilization after another has crumbled into the dust. The debris of history is littered with civilizations of the past which no longer exist.
Benjamin Franklin, in addressing the Constitutional Convention at the age of 81, said, “I have lived a long time and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His knowledge, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
And it was then they sought the presence and guidance of God in the beginning — in fact — the birth of this great nation. The greatest mistake an individual can make is to seek to live his life without God governing in the affairs of that individual’s life. Eventually we come to absolute vanity. All is vanity and nothing if we seek to live without God.
The pattern of the falling of great civilizations is the same. Every history student will testify that they are the same — neglected morals, seeking pleasures, high taxes, breaking up the family ties, greed, selfishness and looking out for ourselves and the greed of government.
I believe that America needs to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. Even if we do not believe it, we really are our brother’s keeper.
It’s not so much the things I do, that bring me to regret,
It’s the little things I leave undone, the things that I forget;
The kind deeds I could do but don’t, the hand I fail to give,
to those I pass along life’s road as day by day I live.
It’s the gentle word I leave unsaid, the letters I do not write,
The songs of praise I leave unsung between the dawn and night.
It’s not so much the things I do that bring me to regret;
It’s the little things I leave undone, the things that I forget.
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.