“And I weighed out to them the offering of silver and gold and the articles that the king, his advisers, his officials and all Israel present there had donated for the house of our God. Then the exiles who had returned from captivity sacrificed burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven male rams, seventy-seven male lambs and, as a sin offering, twelve male goats.” (Ezra8:25, 35)
Israel’s return from captivity brought a spiritual renewal that resulted in new commitments to serve God and the generous use of resources for rebuilding the house of God. Exiles in Babylon gave generously to rebuild God’s house.
Ezra followed careful procedures in determining and reporting he amounts given. Everyone responsible for collecting, storing, and spending money given to God’s work should follow Ezra’s example of care and accountability
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, those returning from captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem, made proper accountability for what they had, almost to a fault. They saw it as an honor to be able once again, to give an accounting proper and true, in the efforts for building and rebuilding on behalf of God’s work. Some people look and see they only 17 cents to offer to You, Abba, yet they feel ashamed to give that. They don’t understand what You could do with that 17 cents. The returning Jews knew how important it was to give an accounting of themselves, for the years when they could not (or at least they thought not) worship and pay You homage. We pray for all peoples who need to understand it is not the amount that they give, but that they give in honor of their relationship with You that truly counts. Though we are suffering from being unable to worship, that we can still give our tithe to the Church and God will use it to bless others. In Jesus’ name pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“God judges what we give, by what we hold back!”
“Before t his, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storeroom of the house of our god. He was closely associated with Tobiah, and he ha provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and oil prescribed for the Levites, singers and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.” (Nehemiah 13:4–5)
Whenever people store and manage gifts negligently, both the ministries it supports and the practice of giving suffer. Eliashib the priest and Tobiah handled the treasures or managed gifts performs a sacred responsibility, but they were negligent in doing so responsively. Offerings to God should be used only in ways directed by God and His people. Such gift must not be used to buy influence from powerful leaders. Nehemiah saw to it, that responsible people were placed inside the treasury; thus, the treasures and ministries were once again able to perform their duties and with no negligence whatsoever.
“Their fellow Levites were in charges of the treasuries of the house of God and the treasuries for the dedicated tings. The descendants of Ladan, who were Gershonites through Ladan and who were heads of families belonging to Ladan the Gershonite, wee Jehieli, the sons of Jehiteli, Zetham and his brother joel. They were in charge of the treasuries of the temple of the Lord. From the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites and the Uzzielites: Shubael, a descendant of Gershom son of Moses, was the office in charge of the treasuries. His relatives through Eliezer; Rehabiah his son, Jeshaiah his son, Joram his son, Zicri his son and Shelomith his son. Shelomith and his relatives were in charge of all he treasuries for things dedicated by King David, by he heads of families who were the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and by the other army commanders. Some of the plunder taken in battle they dedicated for the repair of the temple of the Lord. And everything dedicated by Samuel the seer and by Saul son of Kish, Abner son of Ner and Joab son of Zeruiah, and all the other dedicated things were in the care of Shelomith and his relatives.” (1st Chronicles26:20-28)
Beloved responsible handling of gifts dedicated to God is a sacred task. Those selected for the task are entrusted with an important ministry. To be selected for a position of this level is to be considered as sacred and the task is to be carefully guarded, to ensure there is no misuse or waste concerning the gifts given in dedication and to be used for the proper use the gift was intended. Any misuse or sloppy handling of the accounting of the dedicated gifts causes a serious charge of misusing gifts for God’s work. God would be offended and it would discourages the people in their spirit of giving.
Second Thought of the Day:
“To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. The he went on his journey. The mane who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. Bu the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the round and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts. After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said. ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest what I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:15–30)
By use of these parables, Jesus taught the need for faithfulness in service during the time prior to His return. He expects faithfulness in proportion to ability. He will reward faithfulness and punish unfaithfulness. His return will bring a time of accountability, beloved. If we live out lives in faithful attention to God will and strive to live out His will as we work, play, and live our lives, the reward will be large. If not, well, that’s a different story altogether.
Christ taught accountability and faithfulness to God. Those faithful in managing receive additional trusts. Life and all its possessions are our trust fund from God. We are responsible to manage our time, abilities, and possessions so God and His kingdom will receive the greatest possible return.