2 Chronicles 35: 7 – 10

We have seen throughout the story of Josiah that he was a fine example to his people. Here is something of his exemplary generosity (7): Josiah personally donated 30,000 sheep, lambs, and goats and 3,000 bulls – everything needed for the Passover celebration was there. The Message. He gave lavishly. He wanted his people to be able to celebrate the Passover. He did what he could to make this happen.

When a senior leader has a generous heart, it so often acts as a catalyst to encourage others to turn their pockets inside out (8, 9) and share their contents. (Whatever happens in the heart of a senior pastor is infectious. It’s ‘catching’, and it will get passed on to those who are in close contact with him/her. This can include bad things as well as good. If you are a senior leader you need to ensure that you guard your heart above all else, and walk with God, and let other people get close enough to you to catch the overspill.) His officials also pitched in on behalf of the people… The Message.

(10) reads like this in The Message: Preparations were complete for the service of worship; the priests took up their positions and the Levites were at their posts as instructed by the king. You get the impression of a service in which everything was done decently and in order. F.B. Meyer makes an excellent point, based on the word Prepare which comes in (4, 6, 10, 14, 15 and 16) in some translations: Nothing was left to haphazard or chance. We are taught to rely on the promptings and inspirations of the Holy Spirit; and it is certain that He would use us more on special errands, if we were to trust and obey Him better. But these extraordinary ministries should not lead us to a life of haphazard. We should prepare ourselves for service so far as we may, laying our plans, anticipating the calls and exigencies of coming days, and preparing for the demands which almost certainly will be made on us…we shall always need that preparedness of heart which is necessary for those who are to be used of God…Be always in your own place, clean so far as you can be, with the handle of your life turned towards the Master’s hand, that at any moment he may take hold of you, and use you for his holy service. By the diligent study of his Word, as well as by earnest prayer and waiting upon God, you will be prepared to do his will. Great verses through the Bible, pp 162, 163.

It is good and right that the services of the church should be thoroughly prepared, and that every member of the body of Christ should know their place and fill it. Let us not accept the slipshod in our approach, and then try to cover it with the veneer of an excuse that we are seeking the ‘moving of the Holy Spirit.’ The Spirit who hovered over the waters at the beginning and brought order out of chaos is not opposed to careful planning, as we look to Him to guide. Of course, we should be ready, if He breaks into a service like a flood, to be overwhelmed by Him and let Him sweep all our preparations away. But for the most part, our task is to seek His wisdom and direction in the study and trust Him when in the pulpit.

Prayer: Lord keep us from foolishly driving a wedge between prayerful preparation and the freedom of the Spirit. Help us to do our very best, trusting you to work in us and through us, and to sweep away any thoughts and ideas that are not of you.