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Sunday, March 20, 2016
Thoughts from the Past – More About Abilities
First published on this blog Oct. 2011. Edited.
Nov. 30, 2006
More About Abilities
Earlier this month. I made mention of some comments from a friend regarding abilities and the fact that God does not require of us what we cannot do.
Interestingly, this subject came up again recently for me in my Bible reading in the context of giving.
Ezra 2:68 And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: 69 They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests' garments. [Emphasis added in several places.]
Also note that they gave - they did not sell and buy bonds to build the temple.
Notice that here the men gave for the work of the Lord (building the temple in this case) according to their ability. They did not give what they did not have. In other words, there was no "faith promise" involved. They did not give more than they could, as some have done when pressured by men who like to sheer the sheep too close (offering takers). They did not piously say, "If I had a million dollars, I'd give it aaalllll to God," despite the fact that they only had $5 to give. They just gave after their ability. Not less. Not more. Not on promise. And, although this was the Old Testament era, they also did not give on command. They offered freely.
Here is a parallel thought in the New Testament:
Acts 11:28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: 30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
So, in the context of the New Testament church where Old Testament tithing is not commanded, we see that giving is also to be according to ability and not according to people's expectations or demands - others or our own.
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.