Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for October 5-11 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang of Symphony Church (Boston).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Read Ezra 2:68-69
Some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site. 69 According to their ability they gave to the treasury of the work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver, and 100 priests’ garments.
They gave according to their ability.
We are not told much about the journey of the returning exiles to Jerusalem, but we do know what they did first when they got there. They gathered at the ruins of the temple and, according to their ability, each made freewill offerings for the house of God to be rebuilt.
We learn something remarkable about the priorities of the returning exiles here. They had left their homes in Babylonia to return to their ancestral home, but after nearly 50 years of captivity, they wouldn’t know if they had homes to return to. We would well understand if their first priority was to resettle the land and build homes. And indeed, they did do that, but only after making provision for the house of God first.
Their example teaches us much about the heart of true worshipers. Worshipers prioritize their giving to God, not because they are obligated to give, but because they put God and his work above all other things. When God is not our first priority, we ask, “How much should I give?” A true worshiper simply asks, “How can I give?”
Father, I am thankful for the example of these worshipers in Ezra, for it reminds me that You are a God who is worthy of being my first priority. Like these people in Ezra 2, I want to give generously for Your kingdom work. Help me to join in that work today. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Daniel 5
Lunch Break Study
Read Mark 12:41-44
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Questions to Consider
- Why do you think Jesus was watching people put money into the offering box?
- Why did Jesus say that the widow had given more than the others? What is the lesson He is teaching?
- Read Mark 12:38-40. Does the preceding passage help us learn a broader lesson?
- I don’t believe Jesus was in the habit of watching the offerings at the temple, but He certainly was interested in teaching His disciples a lesson about giving.
- Jesus considered the widow to have given more than the others, as she had more relative to what she had. What is important is not so much how much we give, but how we give. Do we give sacrificially, acknowledging God’s worth and provision?
- This passage seems like a simple lesson in giving, but when read in light of the preceding verses, there may be a deeper lesson. In verses 38-40, we see Jesus lamenting the actions of the scribes who “devour widow’s houses.” In verses 41-44, Jesus praises the actions of a poor widow whose house may have been devoured, if all she had was two copper coins. Jesus celebrates the widow’s act of radical giving, but also laments her circumstance. Perhaps if those gave “out of their abundance” were to be more radically generous and caring, fewer would have to give “out of poverty.”
As disciples of Jesus, God asks us to radically participate in His work, using our material resources, skills, time and energy. How are your priorities? Let us journal a confession or declaration of intent as the Spirit leads.