The Scripture lessons for November 13 were 1 Chronicles 29:6-18; 2 Corinthians 2:6-15 and Luke 20:20-26. The theme for the day was “Boundless Joy.” Pastor Krause focused his message around the Old Testament lesson and David’s desire to show his thanks to God.
Pastor Krause began his message with a history lesson. He reminded us of how God had blessed David again and again. As God blessed David, David’s heart for God and gratitude to God continued to grow to the point that David wanted to build God a house (temple) in which to dwell among Israel. Because of the “blood” on David’s hand God told David that he, David, would not build the house/temple, but his son Solomon would. God, however, was appreciative of David’s heart and wanted to reaffirm His support of David, so God told David His plan which was to build a house (family-line) of David’s through whom the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus, Israel’s Savior and our Savior would come. Once again God blesses David.
David, still moved by God boundless love and multitude of blessings still wanted to demonstrate his gratitude and to have a least some part in the building of the temple. David in his small way or comparatively small way, in the only way he could, decided to raise the resources for the building of God’s house/temple. This is where our Old Testament lesson for today picks up. Resources had been fruitfully raised and were continuing to be raised for the building of God’s house/temple. In our Old Testament lesson David is again thanking God and dedicating the resources raised to God for the building of God’s house/temple.
David gave generously and with great thanksgiving to God and He experienced great joy in and through his giving. As I listened to Pastor Krause’s message, I was moved with thanksgiving for God’s many blessings in my own life, but I was also reminded of the churches of Macedonia that we read about in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5:
And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 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 saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.
While I find the story of David and his gratitude and giving inspiring, I find the giving of the churches of Macedonia even more inspiring. David gave out of his abundance. The churches of Macedonia gave out of “most severe trial” and their “extreme poverty.” I don’t want to minimize David’s giving. It was sincere, heart-felt, and generous; but it did not leave him wondering where his next meal might be coming from. The Macedonia church gave out of their poverty. They gave even when by all appearances they had nothing to give. The 2 Corinthians 8 passage tells us:
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 saints.
This passage suggests to me that these Christians were so anxious and moved to give they were doing things like taking a second mortgage out on their homes simply so they could give more and they were actually pleading for the opportunity, which they believed to be a privilege, to give more.
I am humbled by these Macedonian Christians. I am inspired by them. And I am moved by them.
The key to the heart and behavior of the Macedonian church I believe is found in 2 Corinthians 8:5. FIRST they gave themselves to God. First they put their trust in God, then knowing that God’s will and heart were ones of giving, even when it meant giving sacrificially even to the point of death (Phil 2:3-8), they gave themselves to Paul and his associates who were raising money for the church of Jerusalem and the churches in Israel.
It seems to me that like God, the churches of Macedonia did not ask the question of what one has merited or what one deserves. It seems to me that like God, the churches of Macedonia ask the question of what does one need. I am most grateful that my God does not ask me what I merit or what I deserve. If He did, I would be in deep, deep trouble. I thank God that, based upon Jesus merit and sacrifice, He ask the question of my needs and relates to me on the bases of my need. Thank You, Jesus!!!
Questions for Pondering:
- Does God give to you on the bases of your merit and what you deserve or does He give to you on the bases of your need and Jesus’ merit?
- Do you give to others on the bases of their merit and what they deserve or do you give to others on the bases of their need and Jesus’ merit?
- What are people needing from you today (think of specific people, especially the most needy)?