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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Pew dweller or builder?

Have you ever noticed that God uses people to accomplish his plans and purpose?  I guess I find this kind of amazing considering how capable he is all on his own to accomplish whatever it is that needs to be done.  Do you ever wonder why God uses us to accomplish the things he wants to see done on this earth?  Maybe it is as simple as something I discovered as a parent when my kids were growing up.  The more I had them participate, the more invested they were in the thing being done. They kind of "owned" a part of it, so they were a little more inclined to really value it.  Maybe God just wants us to understand the value of what he is doing - not just revel in the awesomeness of him "doing stuff" on our behalf.  

The tribal leaders of Judah and Benjamin, the priests and Levites, and everyone motivated in his or her spirit by the True God prepared to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Eternal’s temple.  All their neighbors gave them silver, gold, goods, cattle, and valuable things for the journey, just as Cyrus had requested, and sent freewill offerings. (Ezra 1:5-6 VOICE)

The Temple at Jerusalem laid in ruins.  The Jews were scattered to the four corners of the world.  Nation had been pitted against nation until what had been enjoyed by many became their undoing and ultimately led to their present circumstances of living in captivity (something they had escaped many years before as God made a way for them through the Red Sea with the Egyptian armies hot on their heels).  God had decreed they would see their Temple rebuilt and they would again live in their land, but he would use an unusual means by which to accomplish this "second building" of the Temple.  A non-Jew would help to fund their rebuilding efforts and would be the one to decree the Temple needed to be rebuilt. Yet, the Jewish people were to play a part - giving of what they had in the form of valuables, goods, and livestock, leaving their homes, and making their way back to Jerusalem to do the hard labor of cleaning up the destroyed Temple and rebuilding the new.

God doesn't have to use men or women of faith to do his work. He is even capable of turning the head of a Gentile king to do his bidding!  Cyrus could have commanded his own people to rebuild the Temple if he wanted to, but he somehow knows the Jews should be engaged in the work, as well.  God isn't usually content to see his kids just sit around and observe what he is doing.  He likes to engage us in the work because we come to appreciate and value how it is he moves, provides, protects, and prepares for the next move.  Too many times we are content to sit back and "let another" do whatever it is needs to be done, but we miss out on what God wants to reveal to us about himself in the thing which is being done.  

When God calls, he equips.  When he asks for our involvement, he expects us to engage with all of our abilities, talents, time, and treasure.  We can become quite content to be "pew dwellers" - stagnant creatures just "watching" things happen and reveling in the beauty of what we see.  It is quite another thing to have worked to create it with your own hands!  The blessing is different when we have actually been engaged in what God is doing.  I don't know how to describe it really, other than to say we "appreciate" it more.  We acknowledge what God has done with the little we have invested and God receives great joy in hearing that acknowledgement.  We could warm the pews or we could build them.  The choice is ours.  The blessing of the "pew dweller" is far below that of the "pew builder" though.  Just sayin!