MY GENERATIONS' CEILING IS THE NEXT GENERATIONS FLOOR...A real man of God hopes the next generation goes above and beyond what he is doing and then does all he can to help them do it!!! Read on to see what we mean.
A few months ago, I saw a commercial that I absolutely loved. It was for the NFL initiative “PLAY 60”, and it featured Cam Newton, the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, and a little boy. Cam was encouraging the little guy to spend time everyday playing outside to get exercise and have fun. Full of enthusiasm, the little boy says to Cam, “I’ll grow up to be big and strong like you.”
Cam replied “Absolutely.”
The boy says, “And play in the NFL?”
Cam Answered “Yes, sir!”
“And be drafted #1?”
“And become the starting quarterback of the Panthers.”
Cam hesitates and says “Okay”.
The kid pipes up again and says, “You can be my back up?”
A stunned Cam says, “Excuse me?”
Unfazed, the boy says “And I'll make the Panthers fans forget all about you.”
Annoyed, Cam exclaims “What!”
Undaunted, the boy goes on, “And become your Mom’s favorite player?”
Cam is flustered and says “Whoa!”, but still unfaced the young guy starts rotating his arm around in a throwing motion and says, “I’m just loosening my arm!”
I absolutely love this commercial and this little boy’s passion! I laugh every time I see it. This little kid has a #1-draft-pick-starting-qb-superstar worried and intimidated that he will be outdone and replaced! Cam obviously hasn’t been taught what we are going to learn today, a lesson all God’s men need to hear if we are going to be effective mentors to God’s younger men. What is that lesson?
“My generations ceiling is the next generation’s floor.”
I love this quote. In my opinion this should be the definition of mentorship. This is the attitude all men of God should adapt in their lives. We should encourage the next generation to surpass us spiritually! We should never discourage them in order to promote ourselves and our interests. A real man of God hopes the next generation goes above and beyond what he is doing and then do all he can to help them do it!!!
That is what we will look at in this article. We will see an excellent example of a man who knew how to help the next generation realize that his ceiling could be their floor, their launching pad for success. Who is this man? It is King David.
I love David. He was a passionate man! Sometime that passion got him into trouble, sometimes it produced amazing results, but he never did anything half-heartedly! Most know David as the man who killed Goliath with a slingshot and a stone. However, the part of his life we will look at this month comes towards the end of his life. David has gone through years of living as a wanted man while King Saul tried to capture and kill him. He has now been made King of Israel, and instead of sleeping on a rock floor in a cave, he sleeps in a royal palace, living in the blessing of God’s promises fulfilled. Let’s look at 1 Kings 7:1:
Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, 2 that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.”
3 Then Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
David, grateful to God for all He has done to His bless His life, wants to show his gratitude by building a grand temple to God. The prophet gave his blessing for the project, but unfortunately, neither David nor Nathan checked in with God before filing for the building permit.
4 But it happened that night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, 5 “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? 6 For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle….. 8 Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. 10 Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, 11 since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house.
12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”
God tells David that He was not to build a temple for Him. It was not God’s will or timing. However, God says that in the future, He will allow another man, a younger man, a successor, one of David’s sons, to build Him a temple.
Now, David has a decision to make here. He can either accept what God says and go with it, realizing his ceiling in life has been set by God and do what he can to help the next king soar above and beyond him, or he can pout and sulk because he will be outdone and surpassed by another.
What decision did David make? Let’s look at 1 Chronicles 22:1, and as we do we will see lessons we can learn to help us help younger men surpass us in God’s kingdom.
1. David Set Solomon Up To Succeed
Then David said, “This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” 2 So David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel; and he appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God. 3 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, 4 and cedar trees in abundance; for the Sidonians and those from Tyre brought much cedar wood to David.
5 Now David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it.” So David made abundant preparations before his death.
David didn’t pout about God’s decision. He didn’t rebel and disobey God. He didn’t try to undermine Solomon or make it harder to protect his legacy. He did the opposite. He realized his son was young and inexperienced, so he did everything in his power to make the project easier for Solomon. God told him he couldn’t build the Temple, but He never said he couldn’t plan it, stockpile for it, and gather a reliable workforce to ensure Solomon succeeded. David realized an important point we all need to learn: THE WORK WAS ABOUT GOD’S KINGDOM, NOT PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT. AS LONG AS THE WORK GETS DONE AND THE KINGDOM GROWS, WHO CARES WHO GETS THE CREDIT!
It ain’t about us, it’s about God’s kingdom. And guess what, no matter how hard you may try to out due someone else in ministry, if it is God’s will for them to out due you, you won’t be able to stop it. So get out of their way, get behind them, and do what you can to advance God’s will.
2. David Taught Solomon How To Succeed
1 Chronicles 28:9 says “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.”
11 Then David gave his son, Solomon, the plans for the vestibule, its houses, its treasuries, its upper chambers, its inner chambers, and the place of the mercy seat; 12 and the plans for all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, of all the chambers all around, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries for the dedicated things; 13 also for the division of the priests and the Levites, for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the articles of service in the house of the Lord. 14 He gave gold by weight for things of gold, for all articles used in every kind of service; also silver for all articles of silver by weight, for all articles used in every kind of service; 15 the weight for the lampstands of gold, and their lamps of gold, by weight for each lampstand and its lamps; for the lampstands of silver by weight, for the lampstand and its lamps, according to the use of each lampstand. 16 And by weight he gave gold for the tables of the showbread, for each table, and silver for the tables of silver; 17 also pure gold for the forks, the basins, the pitchers of pure gold, and the golden bowls—he gave gold by weight for every bowl; and for the silver bowls, silver by weight for every bowl; 18 and refined gold by weight for the altar of incense, and for the construction of the chariot, that is, the gold cherubim that spread their wings and overshadowed the ark of the covenant of the Lord. 19 “All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.”
David laid it all out for Solomon. He told him about God’s command for his life and Solomon’s life. He showed him the plan he had made but was unable to carry out. Then he showed him all the outlines and blueprints and all the tools and supplies he had prepared. Solomon was set to succeed, and David taught him how to do it.
Solomon was truly blessed to have such a man in his life. A man with David’s attitude is hard to find. Many men take the attitude that they are not going to help their successor out due them. Whether it be an out and out defiance or a tamer, more passive/aggressive feeling of “I learned a lot doing it the hard way, I wouldn’t want to deprive them of this experience,” men leave the next generation high and dry to ensure they don’t get outdone. My brothers, this should not be so!
Instead, we should do anything and everything we can to help them succeed. I have a friend who models this to me all the time. He has a position of authority in ministry, but he understands that he is only one man and can only do so much. Instead of holding other men like myself down, he lets us loose to minister, he coaches us as we go, and he teaches us what we need to do to succeed. He realizes it is about more than him, it is about advancing the kingdom, and as long as that gets done, he will let others do it. Such a man is a gem, and unfortunately, hard to find. However, it is the type of man we all need to develop into in our lives.
3. David Gathered Others To Help Solomon Succeed
1 Chronicles 22:17 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, 18 “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the Lord and before His people. 19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord.”
David could have been content to teach Solomon and then take full credit for Solomon’s success; after all, he taught him everything he knew! But that wasn’t David’s heart. His heart was to make his ceiling Solomon’s floor, to have Solomon out due him and surpass him. So he gathered strong capable men around Solomon and told them, “You work for him now, do everything you can to make him shine!”
The friend I mentioned earlier did the same for me. When we started planning our conferences, he not only allowed me to take charge of them and plan them, he not only helped me pick speakers, but he also went to the speakers and told them to work with me and make sure the conferences succeed. Following David’s example, he worked to ensure I received help from a multitude of sources, not just him. He sets an example we can all follow.
4. David Prayed For Solomon To Succeed
1 Chronicles 29:16 “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. 17 I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. 18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You. 19 And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision.”
David made sure to pray for Solomon’s success. He understood that no matter how much he prepared for Solomon to succeed, no matter how much he taught Solomon to succeed, and no matter how many people he surrounded Solomon with to help him succeed, that he could never succeed without God’s blessing. So David held Solomon up in prayer and asked God to help him accomplish what he was called to do.
Guys, David was an amazing man in his own right and has an amazing legacy. He was Israel’s greatest king. His epitaph for all history is “A Man After God’s Own Heart.” Every king in Israel’s history after David was compared to David as to if he was a success or failure.
But even with this legacy, David had to step aside and let the younger men take over. He had to understand that his job was to let his floor in life be there ceiling, and he had to do all he could to make them soar. If someone as amazing and great as David had to do this, why would we ever think we wouldn’t?
A real man of God realizes his true in life is not to build kingdoms, it is to train kings! We don’t need to rack up accomplishments; we need to rack up successors who can out due us. We can never claim true success in life until we have younger men under us put us out of commission spiritually. We achieve greatest success in God’s kingdom when we take of our helmets and become cheerleaders. When we realize this, God’s kingdom will be unstoppable. So I encourage you to adapt this motto for life:
“My generations ceiling is the next generation’s floor.”