Today’s Readings: 2 Chronicles 3 & Revelations 18:21-19:5
It was nearly 30 years ago, but I still recall what it was to build our family home. Certainly nowhere near the size or as architecturally creative as many of the modern homes of today, but it was to be our home (and still is today). With a very young family it was certainly a challenging time for both of us to balance work and kids, and at the same time navigate our way through trying to visualise how the finished house would look on the block, choose a coordinated colour palate, tiles, carpet, kitchen and bathroom accessories and the list continues …. and yes, mission brown was the colour of the day!
And so we started to build … decisions which were very much about meeting OUR needs.
‘Then Solomon began to build ….’ 2 Chron 3:1
And so we find ourselves in the early chapters of Chronicles, with Solomon not building a family home (yes, there was a palace for Solomon and his VERY large family), but rather this was about building the temple of the Lord …
It’s easy to spend money on ourselves; to negotiate a mortgage with the bank where they scrutinise all your anticipated expenditure to ascertain that you can make your repayments … with very little left over for anything in those early years.
But as we read, it is obvious that no expense would be spared with the planning, the choosing of highly skilled builders and artisans, the choice of material, all of which was about building a building in which God’s glory would be shown. The temple for God was about the very best of everything; yes it was about the materials but primarily, it was about a heart of generosity.
A couple of years ago my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to Turkey where we visited some of the most amazing buildings; no expense spared with the design, size, fit-out of hand painted tiles and gold panelling; enormous buildings that reflected architectural history and brilliance. How easy it is to be distracted by the brilliance of the facility, and I can only wonder what it was for those during Solomon’s time, who were part of building not just any house, but the house of the Lord.
It is easy to admire the hands of the craftsman, rather than give honour and glory to the one who gifts the gifted; skills the skilled and gives wisdom to the wise …
I wonder if the people during the final years of David’s rule, then under the rule of Solomon got caught up in the opulence of what was unfolding and their own skill and ability, as peace started to descend and roots were put down in a new land. Were they tempted to cut corners in order to shorten the endless years it took to build … or was it simply the ‘norm’ of the time?
Solomon had much and he was generous. So what about me? In comparison to many across the nations I too have much … it’s not ‘the much’ that’s the issue but what I do with ‘the much’ that I have.
Can I be generous with all I have; my time … and my talent (or skills) and my resources; the financial blessings that God has provided, with an openness that expresses a heart of total generosity?
What a daring project it was for Solomon to build a temple to the Lord; a place where the living God would dwell. What an even more daring plan, that God would choose to dwell in his people, by his Holy Spirit!
Father God, continue to work on my heart, that I would be as generous as Solomon in ensuring that I give you my best; the work of my hands as I share generously and willingly with others and to speak openly and boldly of the hope only found in Jesus. Gold shines and reflects, but may the ‘gold of my heart’ brings glory to you in all I do and say. Amen