Today’s Reading: Ezra 1:1-2:70 (additional reading: Psalm 27:7-14 and Proverbs 20:22-23)
Madonna once sung a song called “Material Girl.” and if a song ever embodied the era in which we live it is that one. It could probably consider the national anthem of shopping centres everywhere. But are material things bad? In and of themselves, are things bad? No—materialism is bad. But in and of themselves, material things aren’t bad. It’s how they’re used that makes them good or bad.
The Bible teaches that in and of themselves, material things are good. Why? Because God created them. In reality, material things are good gifts from God. It’s just that most of the time we use them for the wrong purposes.
In Ezra we see that the vessels of God were transferred from the hands of a treasurer to an heir. Picture it like this. If you were to transfer the contents of an art gallery from an accountant to an artist, how would it sound? Here’s how it would look to the accountant. Monet–$1,000,000. Van Gogh–$500,000. Picasso–$175,000. Painting—amount, painting—amount. No meaning, no attachment, no feeling. But once they passed from the accountant’s hands into the artist’s hands, how would it sound? Here’s how the artist would receive them. He would carefully and passionately examine every contour and texture and brushstroke. He would receive them with emotion and attachment and passion. They would mean so much more to him than simply a list of dollar amounts. As a matter of fact they would be priceless to him. I imagine that’s how Zerubbabel felt as he received the precious vessels of God. It wasn’t just a collection of bowls and knives and vessels. It was the restoration of the resources God had provided to worship Him with. When Zerubbabel saw those items, he saw the promise of the future temple. He saw what God was working in them. He saw what God was going to do through them.
The same thing happens when you watch your resources transfer from your hands to God’s hands.
They move from being just numbers in your checkbook register to a source of joy and hope. They move from simply being squandered away on your passing needs of the moment… to pricelessly being invested in the future hope of the Lord’s work. God restored His resources by transferring them from one hand to another. From a hand that was focused on the cold, hard facts of the moment… to a hand that was passionately and hopefully focused on God’s future. Which hand are your resources in? Are they in the hand that says, “money—bills. Money—bills. Money—bills?” Or are they in the hand that receives everything with an eye on how God will use it for His purposes? Transfer from one hand to the other.
How do you view material things?
How do you view the gifts God has blessed you with?
Father, Thank You that You are so good to us and bless us with so many amazing things. Thank You that You are so gracious. Help us to value everything you bless us with and to use them in a way that honours You. In Jesus’ name, Amen