2 Chronicles 31:2-8
John Stott tells the story of visiting St. Paul’s Episcopalian church in Darien, Connecticut, U.S.A. It was a congregation that had been affected by the charismatic renewal. On the front of their Sunday bulletin there was the name of the Rector, then the Associate Rector and Assistant Rector. Then there came a line which read: ‘Ministers: the entire congregation.’ As John Stott observed, that is thoroughly Biblical.
We could say that Hezekiah was a good ‘man manager’ (2). He ensured that the priests and Levites were in their proper places and that they had the space and opportunity to serve. What he did with these leaders he surely did with others, putting the right people into the right ‘slots’. Hezekiah organized the groups of priests and Levites for their respective tasks, handing out job descriptions for conducting the services of worship… The Message. It remains a part of the responsibility of leadership to enable people to detect, develop and deploy their gifts. Ephesians 4 tells us that leaders have been given to the church to equip the saints for the work of ministry. We also read there that the body of Christ, the church, builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.’ (Eph.4:16) I am struck by the phrase: to sing praise at the gates of the LORD’s dwelling (2). (The ‘face’ the church presents to the world ought to be one of thanksgiving. Emotions are contagious and joy is infectious. But we must not be ‘two-faced’. Let’s be like that at the gates because that’s how we are within the walls. We are those ‘gates’ to the world.)
We can also say that Hezekiah was a good example (3). He did not expect others to put their hands in their pockets while he kept his wallet padlocked! No, he was a fine example of godly generosity. Therefore his leadership had credibility. He wasn’t just a speech-maker. He ‘walked the walk’ before his people. That will always give you clout. You will see how Hezekiah’s desire in all of this was to obey the Bible. He didn’t want it to be sitting on a shelf, gathering dust. He hid it in his heart, and walked it in his shoes. Someone said: ‘This Book will keep you from sin; or sin will keep you from this book.’ Another said, ‘Here is the Word of God: know it in your head, stow it in your heart, show it in your life and sow it in the world.’ The thing about Hezekiah was that he clearly showed personal investment in the changes he knew needed to happen.
Hezekiah was a good communicator (4). He was clear in what he wanted; what he was calling for. He was asking for a generous outpouring of gifts so that the spiritual leaders of the nation could be supported in their Bible-centred work: …so they, without distraction or concern, could give themselves totally to The Revelation of GOD. The Message. What a response there was (5-8). They didn’t hold back, turning over a tithe of everything. They also brought in a tithe of their cattle, sheep, and anything else they owned that had been dedicated to GOD. The Message. The gifts came in heaps (6, 8). It was bountiful giving, and it seems Hezekiah and his officials were overwhelmed by it (8). But in all of this, we cannot under estimate the power of Hezekiah’s example. It is vital that leaders should themselves live the very Biblical things they may be asking of everyone else. And even if people can’t see, for example, your generosity, it is still important to be generous. That will almost certainly trigger something in the hearts of others, for we are dealing here with a deeply spiritual issue.
Prayer : Lord God, you love a cheerful giver. So I pray that I, and all of us in your church, will give with great joy and freedom, and with deep trust in you and your abundant provision.