TODAY’S READING: 2 KINGS 11-13
In 2 Kings 12, Jehoash, the king of Judah, instructed the priests to use the money given by the people to repair the house of the Lord. But, the priests failed to use the money to repair the temple.
So, Jehoash told the priests to take no more money from the donors. I believe the implication is that the priests were taking the money from the gifts of the people for themselves instead of using them to repair the temple.
So, instead of giving the money directly to the priests, the money went into a box. The king’s secretary and the high priest counted the money together. Then the money was given directly to the workers who had oversight of repairing the house of the Lord. The money was not used for basins, snuffers, and other instruments of service.
Of course, Jesus showed us that he was the true temple. And, all of us who believe in him are his body, his house, his temple.
Therefore, it seems to me that the lesson is that first and foremost are giving is to go to directly take care of the needs of others, for people are the house of the Lord. Until we have met every need of others, fully repairing the house of the Lord, our giving should not go to the instruments of religious service – physical buildings and anything else the church uses for “ministry.”
Unfortunately, most of the most American Christians give is used in the exact opposite manner. The money first, and almost exclusively, goes to buildings and the performance of religious service.
Acts 2:45 says, “And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”
Acts 4:34-35 says, “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
The very first disciples after Peter preached his first sermon did exactly what Jehoash instructed. They gave to meet the bodily needs of others, to repair the temple of the Spirit.
These disciples were following the instructions of Jesus.
Jesus said in Matthew 19:21, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Jesus said in Luke 12:33, “Sell possessions, and give to the needy.”
Jesus said in Luke 18:22, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Jesus never once instructed his followers to build elaborate temples and buildings that were richly furnished for religious performance. But, he repeatedly told his followers to give to the poor and needy.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:37-40, “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did you see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Jesus said his body was the temple. When we give to those in need, we give to Jesus for the repair of the temple, his body. Of course, this shows that all people are part of his body, especially the poor, the outcast, the needy.
Yet, American Christians spend billions of dollars every year on new buildings to “worship” in. I think we totally missed the point.
By the way, Jehoash gave this instruction when he was 30 years old. Huh…the same age Jesus started preaching about his body as the temple of the Lord. Probably a coincidence.