REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Cami King, now a friend of AMI, was first posted on October 18, 2015. Cami served faithfully as a staff at several AMI churches in the past.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
The people of Israel–the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the exiles–observed the dedication of this temple of God with joy. 17 For the dedication of this temple of God they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and twelve male goats for the sin of all Israel, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 They appointed the priests by their divisions and the Levites by their divisions over the worship of God at Jerusalem, in accord with the book of Moses. 19 The exiles observed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 The priests and the Levites had purified themselves, every last one, and they all were ceremonially pure. They sacrificed the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their colleagues the priests, and for themselves. 21The Israelites who were returning from the exile ate it, along with all those who had joined them in separating themselves from the uncleanness of the nations of the land to seek the LORD God of Israel. 22 They observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with joy, for the LORD had given them joy and had changed the opinion of the king of Assyriatoward them, so that he assistedthem in the work on the temple of God, the God of Israel.
I love dedications. As a little girl in church, I’d see parents parade their small bundle of joy, covered in white lacey frills, to the front of the sanctuary for pastors and congregation to pray for their newborn baby. I remember buildings being completed and huge celebrations ensuing with church leaders showing off all the new amenities that the generous fundraising campaign made possible (as some of our AMI churches are experiencing right now!). We’d gather together and praise God for the life He created and the house of worship He established.
As I get older, I see something similar in other spheres as well – when a friend purchases a new home or receives a promotion, there is an instinctive desire to celebrate. In moments of great accomplishment, it is natural to want to gather others around us to revel. The question then becomes, what exactly are we celebrating? Unlike building projects and newborns in church (with which it’s harder to fall into this temptation), success in our personal lives often brings with it a temptation to shout, Look at me! Look at me! Look what I’ve done, what I’ve purchased, what I’ve made! And we may slap God’s name on it somewhere in there, but our hearts desire is for a celebration of us.
Life has many moments worthy of celebration. We will be promoted, collect a bonus, receive awards, complete projects, graduate, get jobs, buy homes, build churches, get married and bring life into the world. These are precious moments, and it is important for us to stop not merely to celebrate ourselves, but to acknowledge our Heavenly Father – not only in thanksgiving for our success, but also in commitment to Him in what we will do with it. Much like the dedication of the temple in our passage for today, there should be a dedication in the midst of all our accomplishments in joyous thanksgiving for what God has enabled us to do (we’ve seen all week that He is at work in providing for His people in various ways as we seek to do His will) and in steadfast commitment to use our newfound resources to His glory. Celebrating ourselves is great, but it pales in comparison to pointing our little glory to God’s great glory at work in us.
Lets us take time today to admire the works of our hands and celebrate the successes in our lives by acknowledging the God who made them possible and dedicating them to Him for His good purposes. And let us seek the Lord for how He intends us to use our accomplishments for His kingdom and commit in joyful obedience.
Prayer: Lord, in recognition of all that You have done for me, I celebrate Your presence in my heart. I thank You for continuous love for me expressed through Your abundant provisions in all areas of my life, including spiritual and physical. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 7