“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.” – Deuteronomy 30:15-16
Frances Havergal wrote the lyrics to the hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be”. This hymn meant very much to her. She did not just write words on a piece of paper. She acted upon them.
It is said that, as she read those words, especially the second stanza, she was suddenly convicted of her failure to do just that. “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love; Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee; Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold.”
Consequently, she took her very valuable collection of exquisite jewelry, most of which came by gift or inheritance, packed them in a box and sent them to her church’s missionary society. Then, just to be sure, she included a check to cover the monetary value of the jewels she had chosen to keep!
In the above text, Moses gathered the children of Israel together to get them to renew their commitment to the Lord. He reminded them of the Lord’s promise to them.
One of those promises was prosperity. This is something for which we all strive. We pray and make pacts with God in hopes of succeeding. However, when we succeed, we forget our promises to God.
It is easy to make a promise when we have nothing to give. But when we get our prosperity and we are doing well, we think differently. Suddenly, our promise to God becomes a burden.
When our promises to God become a burden, we should be mindful of God’s generosity to us. God does not need our money or our time, He wants us to use it for the good of building His kingdom here on earth.
How do we build God’s kingdom here on earth? We build God’s kingdom by proclaiming and supporting the proclamation of the gospel. He also wants us to use it for the good of humanity.
God calls us to live. We live by acknowledging God and living according to His commands. He commands us to provide for His house of worship. That is something the Israelites constantly neglected.
In all of this, love the Lord your God. How can you love the Lord and neglect to provide for His work here on earth?
In other words, we display our love for God through our actions, like Frances Havergal who gave up her valuables. When we love God, we give God the first fruits of our income. When we neglect to give back to God that which is His, we call death and destruction upon ourselves.
When we do what is right and give Him praise through our tithes and our time, then we bring prosperity. That is what love does. Jesus came into the word because of His love for us. He loved so much, He died in our stead that we may be called the children of God.
We show our love for God not only by giving back to the church, but also giving relief to our brothers and sisters, around us, who are in need. Yes, we display our love for God through our support for the needy.
In our country today, we have a great opportunity to display our Christian love. There are many around us who are hurting and in need, particularly the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama. In all that you do, love the Lord your God. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor of the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr., P. O. Box N4794, can be reached at telephone 242-426-9084 or Web page: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.