Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Hireling

They said to him, “Be silent, put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?”(Judges 18:19 NASB)

The Levite in this passage was hired by Micah to be his household priest for ten pieces of silver (Judges 17:10).  If our motivation in ministry is to get money, we can be hired for ten pieces of silver and persuaded to go elsewhere for eleven.

The Bible says that the worker is worthy of his hire (Matthew 10: 10).  God knows that you need clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and food in your stomach.  There is nothing wrong in earning a decent living through Gospel, but it is all about motive.  Do your serve to eat, or do you eat so you can serve.  If you do the former you have a job, the latter qualifies what you do as a ministry.  The biblical words service and ministry come from the same Greek root.  If what we do for the Lord seeks to benefit ourselves first, it ceases to be a biblical ministry. 

Within reason, it is really not about the amount of our compensation.  You can be just as covetous of a hundred dollars as you are a thousand. It’s all about why we do what we do. If we can be hired like the Levite for the best offer, we will continue to be led by the highest bidder, and not the will of God.  You cannot serve God and mammon. 

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing

Image used with permission by Microsoft. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Quieted Spirit

King David
O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me. (Psalms 131: 1 NASB)

This Psalm probably came as a response to an accusation by King Saul that David through arrogance and selfish ambition had sought the kingdom.  His reply indicated that his heart had been weaned from the worldly trappings of leadership.

The commentator Matthew Henry once said of this Psalm, “He had neither a scornful nor an ambitious look.”  Pride leads us to be jealous of those above us and to look down on those below us.  David never envied King Saul when he ruled or despised him when fell from favor with God and man.  David grieved over the fall of his King, the Lord’s anointed.  David did not seek an exalted position.  If God had so willed he could have spent all of his days in the sheepfolds.  Saul accused David of seeking leadership for the wrong motives.  Saul more than likely spoke out of the depravity of his own heart.  Saul’s paranoia kept him suspicious and judgmental.

Much has been said of being all that you can be for God, and rightly so.  It may be just as important to be content in whatever station in life to which God has called us.  As a baby is weaned from the breast, so was David separated from allurements of fame and fortune.  It may be those who seek these things the least who God can give to most freely.  We should never seek more than God wills for us, but never apologize for what He does bestow upon us.  A quieted spirit ensures we will be at rest in any position in life.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing

Monday, May 9, 2016

Gideon's Ephod

Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household. (Judges 8: 27 NASB).
Gideon was a good man, but good men sometimes do foolish things.  It is never right to do evil things with good intentions.

Gideon had requested gold earrings from the plunder from his victory over Midian with which he made a household idol.  Commentators have suggested that he either wanted to make the ephod to memorialize his great victory or use it to seek future guidance from the Lord.  The ends never justify the means.  The strategy of our enemy has always been to mix good and evil. If the enemy cannot get us to forsake God directly he leads us to compromise our faith.  In the end, this replaces the true God with a false one.

When God enacts a great victory for us there is the tendency to try to keep it alive by human means.  What God does in the Spirit we think we can perpetuate by human methods. When the memories of victory start to wane we can substitute things we can touch and feel.  Remembrances are not always wrong, but we can start to worship the victories of God rather than the God of the victory.  This leads us to living in the past rather than looking to the future.

Gideon’s error may not have been in just what he worshiped, but where. His shrine was in his home in Ophrah and not in Shiloh where they were directed to worship.  If we shun corporate worship it can lead to apostasy and false religion.


Image used with permission by Microsoft.