Some leaders of nations are feared, while others are revered (meaning to feel deep respect or admiration). Among the most respected American politicians in recent American history is Ronald Reagan. Thousands stood in line all night to touch his casket; others lined parade routes to express gratitude, affection, and love. Under President Reagan’s leadership, the Berlin wall came down, interest rates were drastically reduced, the economy soared, and America was more unified. From a secular viewpoint, even many of his opponents acknowledged he demonstrated qualities of greatness.
When “the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went” (II Samuel 8:6, 14-15), he did something very unusual. “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (II Samuel 9:1). In those days, it was rare to have a peaceful transition of power. Typically, when a new king ascended the throne, he slaughtered all the family of his predecessor to eliminate divided loyalties and prevent a coup (to regain power). You might say that life insurance for them would have been a “bad risk.” But in this case, David went out of his way to show kindness to Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, because Jonathan had shown love and kindness to him. Great men will show mercy when they have the upper hand. David also showed mercy because he had promised his friend Jonathan that he would deal kindly with his descendants (I Samuel 20: 11-17). Seeking out Jonathan’s family members to show them kindness was a matter of David keeping his word. Great men always keep their word, even when it is to “…his own hurt…(he) changeth not” (Psalm 15:4). David promised Mephibosheth the honor of eating “…bread at my table continually” (II Samuel 9:7). This was more than what his pledge to Jonathan required, but great men will do more than what is required. When David’s son Absalom sought to overthrow him, David and many loyal to him had to flee Jerusalem. However, Mephibosheth remained, hoping Israel would anoint him as king (II Samuel 16:3; 19:24-25). Despite his treason and ingratitude, even then David showed him mercy, because great men choose to have compassion.
Is there someone in your life who needs your kindness, mercy, and compassion? We encourage you to give your word to the Lord that you will take action today to demonstrate these qualities to an undeserving soul. Then, show greatness by keeping your word.
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