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Provide for the Work of Ministry

Rev. Enoch Thompson | December 31, 2023 | Nehemiah 10:32-39

 


KEY VERSE:

The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and oil to the storerooms where the articles for the sanctuary are kept and where the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the singers stay. “We will not neglect the house of our God." Nehemiah 10:39 (NIV)

 

MESSAGE:

In Nehemiah 10:32-39 the reforming Jews pledge to ensure the payment of prescribed amounts and provision of items according to the law of Moses, for the upkeep of the Temple and those who work in the Temple system. God had made adequate provision for the Temple where He had promised to place His Name and to meet the Israelites in their walk with Him. The neglect of the responsibilities of individuals and the nation had contributed to the Babylonian captivity. Now, as they returned to their eternal homeland under God, they resolved to ensure that there was sufficient provision for running the Temple services.

God’s witness of the frugality and withdrawal of resources of Israel from time to time in their history makes Him issue a word that is pertinent to us today:

    

”⁹ I have no need of a bull from your stall

or of goats from your pens,

¹⁰ for every animal of the forest is mine,

and the cattle on a thousand hills.” Ps 50:9-10 (NIV).

 

Certainly, God does not need anything from us, but we tend to think “We finance God.” Recently I heard a comment made by someone on social media to mock the concept of God, that God is presented as all-knowing and all-powerful, and yet he cannot fight His battles except by various worshippers of God fighting each other, and He cannot fund His mission except by relying on the pockets of people. That is a sad and immature understanding of God. It might have its basis in the over-emphasis in some of the manifestations of religion, I dare to say Christianity, which gives the impression that God is motivated by our giving and that the highest bidder gets His attention most of the time. I repeat God does not need our finances to do what He would do. What we give towards the work of ministry, we must understand, is that which already has always belonged to Him. What we call our money is God’s money in our pockets. Besides, for us as people who have experienced the reality of God and are convinced that the totality of our existence depends on Him, there is nothing that should be too much for us to give in return for the grace of His goodness, and the magnitude of His love to us.

 

Isaac Watts in 1707 says it all in his stanza of WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS:

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

 

FEET AND HANDS FOR THE MESSAGE

How have you fared in your giving towards the work of the ministry of the Church? Have you made any supporting donations to parachurch organizations like the Scripture Union, Evangelism Committee of Ghana, Ghana Fellowship of Evangelical Students, Ghana Institute of Linguistics and Bible Translation, Bible Society of Ghana etc?

You owe it a duty to fund God’s projects because God’s resources for doing His business are in the pockets of beneficiaries of His grace. Commit, like Israel to be regular and faithful in supporting the work of ministry financially.

 

PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, the silver is yours, and the gold as well. How sad to think that I do you any favour when I support the ministry financially. Please help me to be a generous cheerful giver, and please bless me like you promise so that I will always have enough to give more and more.

For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.

 

THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSING.

SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!!

 

DAILY word study: CONTRIBUTIONS In the original Hebrew, the word used for Contributions is "terumah" (תְּרוּמָה). It signifies an offering, an elevation, a dedicated portion lifted from the harvest and set aside for God and His service. It wasn't just about giving a bag of grain; it was about recognizing God's ownership over everything, expressing gratitude for His bounty, and actively participating in the work of His kingdom. The concept of "contributions" has a longstanding presence in the Bible. From Abraham's tithe to the elaborate offerings outlined in Leviticus, the act of giving has been part of God's covenant with His people. It extends beyond a mere obligation; instead, it serves as a means to convey gratitude, reassert commitment, and actively engage in the shared life and mission of the community. In the Book of Nehemiah, these "contributions" went beyond merely stocking storehouses; they were enriching hearts. They represented a concrete dedication to the reconstruction of Jerusalem, a hands-on manifestation of faith, and a showcase of solidarity among the people. These offerings were symbolic of their reliance on God and their eagerness to contribute to the common welfare. The commitment to bring contributions reflects a holistic approach to worship. It's not merely about personal devotion but also about actively contributing to the collective well-being of the religious community. While our context may differ, the essential message of "contributions" remains powerful. We are called to be generous stewards of what we have, not just with material goods, but with our time, talents, and even our compassion Remember, giving isn't about depletion; it's about overflow. When we generously share what we have, we open ourselves to a deeper connection with God and with each other, building a community where everyone flourishes. Reflections: How does our understanding of stewardship influence our contributions to the community and the service of God? n what ways can systematic giving be a form of worship and an expression of gratitude for God's provision in our lives? Are there aspects of our communal worship that we might sometimes neglect, and how can we ensure that we actively contribute to the flourishing of our religious community?

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