May 29 – I Did It My Way

I Kings 1-2, Psalms 37, 71, 94

Several years ago I attended the funeral of a co-worker, a man who died of a heart attack two weeks before school started in August. He was only in his 40’s and left a wife, two daughters, and an entire school community devastated by his loss.

He and I had had a good working relationship, but I never really talked to him about where he stood with the Lord. As I sat at the funeral home before the service, my heart ached. I was struck by the choice of music playing in the background. He had been a country music fan, and all the songs were country. None of them had anything to do with God.

Then, when Frank Sinatra began singing “My Way” I could hardly hold back the tears. I am not judging this dear man on the basis of the songs played at his funeral. I don’t know what he said to God before he died. His heart’s condition is between him and the Lord. But I find it sad that, at the end of any life, the idea of living that life “my way” is even mentioned, much less sung about.

I read about Shimei this morning. He had taken sides against Solomon, and although Solomon spared his life, he put Shimei on house arrest for the rest of his life. Shimei agreed to the terms: stay within the walls of Jerusalem. Don’t leave for any reason. If you do, you will die.

Shimei was good with that, and obeyed the conditions of the agreement for three years. I don’t know, maybe he got too comfortable. But eventually Shimei took a quick trip to a neighboring town to retrieve some runaway slaves, most likely thinking his was a legitimate reason for breaking the agreement. And he was only gone for a short time. He went right back to Jerusalem with his slaves.

What’s the harm?

The harm was that he’d stepped outside the boundary. He did things his way, and it cost him his life. Solomon kept his end of the bargain.

God has given us boundaries, too. He has set out his demands, he even provided forgiveness for when we break the rules. But if we want that forgiveness, we must do it His way. We must repent, accept Jesus as our Savior, and allow Him to live in and through us. There is no other way, no other Name by which we must be saved. That’s not a popular concept for many. But God isn’t asking our approval of His plan.

We might pride ourselves on living this life our way, we might even fashion another way to the Father. But in the end, we will find that doing it our way leads to death. Solomon kept his end of the bargain.

So will God.

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