LITTLE ROCK – “Even good guys can squander their successes … and quit too soon,” David Hankins told messengers during the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting.
Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, read from several passages in 2 Kings, pointing to the reign of Hezekiah, the 12th king of Judah.
“He had such a legendary monarchy, that it is recorded in three full chapters of the book of 2 Kings 18, 19 and 20. It's told also in four chapters of the book of 2 Chronicles and four chapters of the prophecy of Isaiah, and is referenced as the theme of the 46th Psalm, and some say it is Hezekiah's prayer, not David's prayer, in Psalm 86,” said Hankins.
But despite the Hezekiah's successes, which included living a spiritual and moral life, and prospering “in everything he did,” the king did not finish well.
Hankins said an easy comparison could be made of modern-day America, which has experienced “unparalleled growth, leadership and power and opportunity, blessing self and blessing the world…because of God's graciousness to us.”
“And yet,” said Hankins. “I wonder if this stockpile of blessing is going to be completely frittered away so that our children's children will not know the benefits of this great nation."
He shared three “fault lines” he felt caused the king to fail, and how we should learn from them.
First, “You can squander your successes if you accentuate your pleasures,” said Hankins, saying Hezekiah chose during the latter years of his rein to be “more concerned by his creature comforts” and enjoy the pleasure of sin rather than to continue to seek God.
Second, “You can squander your successes if you adulterate your principles. “Stand for the faith,” said Hankins.
“Listen, our duty is to arm our heirs, not to aid and abet the enemies of the kingdom of God. If we fail at this, we’re going to have a gospel without a cross, and doctrines without a Bible, … Baptists, God forbid, without baptism; marriage without progeny; death without heaven; and religion without God.”
Third, “You can squander your successes if you … quit too soon.”
“According to ESPN, sports fans think the No. 1 gaff in the history of the NFL happened in the (1993) Super Bowl when the ‘Big Cat’ from the Dallas Cowboys, Leon Lett, a defensive lineman, scooped up a fumble and started racing to the end zone. He was unopposed. But when he got to about the 5-yard line, he began to strut and hold the ball out. He said later that he was watching himself on the Jumbotron. But what he didn’t see on the Jumbotron was (opposing player) Don Beebe hadn’t given up, and was running up behind him. Before he crossed the goal line, the ball was knocked from his hands and out of the end zone for a touchback.
“Do you know what the difference between a touchback and a touchdown is? Six points,” said Hankins. “The only way you get a touchdown is to get all the way across the goal line. So you can’t quit.”
Hankins added that many people in the room, as baby boomers, don’t need to quit on their generation … a generation that still needs Christ.
“There are ministries that are going to very effective in the future that haven’t even been created yet,” he said. “But you’re are going to stay on the job. You’re going to stay with it… You’re going to come up with a new idea and a new way of doing something, God’s going to bless it, and there’s going to be great results because you didn’t quit.”