Prayer for the day
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your Name give glory; because of your love and because of your faithfulness.
Scripture for the day
It’s funny how things come full circle sometimes. In the two stories from the scriptures today, money is given to the service of God. In both, it is given gladly. But the giving in the Second Testament is a fulfillment of the desire in the First.
In the story of Nehemiah, money is given gladly to the building of the temple, the building of the wall, and the storehouse of God in order to care for the Levites, who were not given land, but instead were given the task of ministering before the Lord. The law dictated that those who benefitted from the work of the priests ought to give so that the priests could continue with their work. And so the people gave. It was necessary to set up certain buildings to house the gifts and to ensure that everything was done according to the law.
In the Second Testament, the law is not abolished, but we see people moving in the direction of mutual benefit already without the explicit teaching (or so we assume). The people who follow Christ are living together and caring for one another. Many who have are selling what they have and ensuring that he money goes to those who do not have. Joseph (called Barnabas) sells a piece of property and lays the money he gets for it at the feet of the apostles. In this way everyone is provided for.
This is a new economy, an economy of the Kingdom, where the law seems written on the hearts of the people, and the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are harmoniously united. The people are required to live this way, but do so not out of duty only, but out of the joy of following wholeheartedly.
God grant us the grace to do likewise.