Picking up from my last post regarding the conquest of Jericho, isn’t it interesting that God gives Israel freedom to destroy everything in the city – men, women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys – but they must steer clear of the “devoted things”- silver, gold, articles of bronze and iron – that were sacred to the Lord. (Joshua 6:18) In this way the Lord was asking them to leave what could have been of tremendous value for them, as a sacrifice to Him.
Of course Achan couldn’t resist taking some of the devoted things for himself and, as we see in chapter 7, that singular act of disobedience brought God’s anger on Israel. In his anger God allowed them to act presumptively and it brought defeat where victory should have been assured.
In thinking about how this applied to my life, and more broadly to the ministry of Momentum Europe, I was reminded of what we so often invite our friends to invest in ministry – their L.I.F.E. – Labor, Influence, Finances and Expertise. Aren’t these the equivalent of “devoted things”, or representative of what is sacred to the Lord?
For me, it’s quite a privilege to work with a team of staff and partners who really understand this concept. They realize that their labor, i.e. their vocation, is sacred to the Lord and they work for His glory. Likewise they see the relationships that God has given them – that is, their influence – as a means to advance God’s kingdom. The handling of their finances reflects an understanding that God is the owner of it all, and finally they willingly invest their expertise – talents, skills, experience – in helping reach others for the Lord.
A great example of this is the upcoming Impact Tour where ME partners and friends will be involved in helping to make an impact in Romania. Each participant is giving willingly of their time and treasure (labor and finance) to go to Bucharest. It’s not an inexpensive commitment. There is no personal glory in going. It will require some wear and tear. They are also investing relationally (their influence) as they seek to build bridges with individuals who need to hear about Jesus. Finally they will be using their expertise as they lead various workshops aimed at drawing people into an evangelistic process.
I’m sure any of the Impact Tour participants could have found other things to do with their LIFE during the week of the Impact Tour – but out of their love for the Lord, the devoted things that God has given them are made available for His use.
This is how we’ll make progress in seeing spiritual climate change in Europe. God will continue to bring together a team of people for whom their “devoted things” remain things that are devoted to the Lord. Honoring the Lord will require sacrifice, but will also be the means toward His blessing.
(photo courtesy of: Master Isolated Images@freedigitalphots.net)