Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Giving Beyond Borders

For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.
(2 Corinthians 8:3-5 NIV)

 Beloved, the verses above, speak volumes to me and I know, by the end of this post, they will speak volumes to you. When it comes to giving, many in the world take part in it, however, it’s not the giving that captures my attention, with the verses above. It’s the following portion and it speaks directly to those who are truly God’s people. I now invite you Into My HEART...

‘They urgently pleaded.’ Those words at least in North America seem so taboo. For a people to urgently plead to have the privilege to give that others who don’t have, will have, regardless of what amount they have to give, and further exceeding what they are able to give. If there was a “revival” ever needed, it’s in the area of giving, such as in (Exodus 35, 36 & 1 Chronicles 29; Acts 2). May we give to the point that God’s workers will say, ‘His people have brought more than enough to do the work’ as is wonderfully recorded below, that the spirit of generous giving, would fall on us as well!

From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord.. as the Lord loves a cheerful giver. (Exodus 35:5; 2 Corinthians 9:7 emphasis added)

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 emphasis added)

Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord . Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or the other durable leather brought them. Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the Lord, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.
(Exodus 35:20-29 NIV emphasis added)

Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”   Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work. (Exodus 36:2-7 NIV emphasis added)

And now, because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving all of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple. I am donating more than 112 tons of gold from Ophir and 262 tons of refined silver to be used for overlaying the walls of the buildings and for the other gold and silver work to be done by the craftsmen. Now then, who will follow my example and give offerings to the Lord today?”

Then the family leaders, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the generals and captains of the army, and the king’s administrative officers all gave willingly. For the construction of the Temple of God, they gave about 188 tons of gold, 10,000 gold coins, 375 tons of silver, 675 tons of bronze, and 3,750 tons of iron.  They also contributed numerous precious stones, which were deposited in the treasury of the house of the Lord under the care of Jehiel, a descendant of Gershon. The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord, and King David was filled with joy.

Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly: “O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! Yours, O Lord , is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace. “O  lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you! I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously. “O Lord, the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make your people always want to obey you. See to it that their love for you never changes. Give my son Solomon the wholehearted desire to obey all your commands, laws, and decrees, and to do everything necessary to build this Temple, for which I have made these preparations.” Then David said to the whole assembly, “Give praise to the lord your God!” And the entire assembly praised the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they bowed low and knelt before the Lord and the king.
(1 Chronicles 29:3-20 NLT)

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV emphasis added)
This ‘urgently pleading’ is that proper manner in which to cry out to God to have the privilege to be an active part of what captivates God’s heart. Not only are we to ‘come boldly’ to the throne of God in which we find grace for all manner of living, but we, the faithful in Christ, should urgently plead to God, to be partakers as fellow workers for the Gospel in giving to the needs of others, that being His Church; the building of His temple and the very light as we are called to be, shining into this dark world. Oh Lord, let it be so.

For when the man urgently pleads for such a privilege and by God’s grace alone (and I speak from personal experience), receives it, now the man is truly alive, set on fire for the things of God, and he can now live with purpose! Amen.

1 comment:

  1. A year ago today, the Lord in His supreme grace and excellence, blessed me to write this and it is glorious! As it was a year ago, it is today—truth! Thank you Lord.