‘I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the Lord’ (1 Chron. 22:14). David had fought hard in battle and now he was giving the spoils of those battles to his son to build the temple. He had amassed ‘a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone’
(1 Chron. 22:14).
You can imagine David’s words being spoken to you by Jesus: ‘Now, my child, I have with great pains made available to you everything you need for the house of the Lord.’ Jesus has conquered death for you, provided at terrible cost everything that you could possibly need to get the job done. ‘From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another’ (John 1:16). The supply will never run out.
It all seems so difficult, until you realise that Jesus’ resources are available to you without limit. No longer do you need to say, ‘I can’t, I’m inadequate’ or ‘Surely we’re stretching ourselves too thin.’ No! There’s no limit. However many times you go back for more, there’s never any lack of supply. All you need is there on site.
David said further, ‘You have many workmen: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as men skilled in every kind of work’
(1 Chron. 22:15). Not only has God given us a superabundance of grace, he has also given skilful people to work with these resources. You must draw both on God’s grace and on the talented people whom God has put with you to teach you how to build his house.
On the one hand, Jesus has given you grace. On the other hand, he has given his whole body, the church, gifted people. ‘He gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers’ (Eph. 4:11). He gave skilful people because he wanted them used to build his house.
Released to Build?
Pastors, are you encouraging the release of spiritual gifts in your church? Are you using the gifted people God has given you? Have you asked a gifted and experienced ‘master builder’ if you are building on the right foundation?
Maybe you know that your church is on a good foundation. You are enjoying the family atmosphere, release in worship and the exercise of spiritual gifts. You are already recovering a New Testament style of church life. But are you evangelising your town? Or are you essentially inward-looking? Have you called an evangelist to provoke and train you to go out with the gospel?
The church must be built according to God’s blueprint – through those whom he’s chosen and gifted for this task. If you fail to use them, you are despising the gifts of the ascended Lord.
‘When we exercise the gifts which Christ has given us we are really saying to our fellow Christians and others: See how much the Lord Jesus Christ loves you and cares for you; he has sent me to serve you in this way; he is using my hands and feet, my lips and ears, to show his love. It is a tragic mistake if we think that the message is: See what a superb Christian I am; see the wonderful gifts I have… Gifts are for service, not self-advancement.’
Sinclair B. Ferguson, Grow in Grace, Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p.69.