February 2 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.’” ~Exodus 31:13

I wonder if all the time and wealth given to worship seemed like a big waste to the Israelites. Think about it. On this long journey from Egypt to the land of promise, the people are dependent on God for their daily bread (literally). They have the clothes on their backs, the shoes on their feet, and a few luxury items each family procured from the Egyptians on their way out the door. Now God wants them to give some of what they have to build an ornate tabernacle, a gold-covered altar, and a bronze baptistery. Even the ministers receive specially-designed garments and their own expensive cologne (Ex. 31:22-33). The most skilled artisans are prompted to devise “artistic designs” for the glory of God (Ex. 31:4). Moreover, the people are to set aside one day to rest, worship, and enjoy God. Time, resources, and skills squandered in the wilderness! What a waste!

Only it isn’t a waste at all. The worship of God is the very reason the Israelites were set free! Their extravagant acts of worship, even in the wilderness, made a statement: God, You have given us everything, our life, our freedom, our time, and all that we possess. We give back a portion of what we have to worship You!

I’m not using the Israelites’ story to extrapolate that we must have gold altars or bronze baptisteries or expensive perfume for our ministers. (We know from studying ancient cultures that Israelite worship was contemporary, meaning that it was in keeping with their own cultural experiences; ours should be too.) But I do believe that God is pleased when we give of our money (Ex. 30:11-16), our talent (Ex. 31:1-5), and our time (Ex. 31:12-17) to worship Him. If this seems like a waste, then remember that God has given you everything you have. He wants you to spend some of it on Him just to say that He is the most worthy Being in the universe!

Do you set aside some of your treasure to give to the worship of God and the spread of His fame throughout the earth? Do you give your talent for His glory in some way? Do you set aside time for the purpose of worshipping Him? Do you do this even when you are in the wilderness, when life is not all you want it to be or when you are praying just to receive your daily bread? Our New Testament reading teaches us that God invites everyone to worship Him, but not everyone accepts the invitation (Matt. 22:1-14). Some are too preoccupied with the busyness of this life. As for me, I accept the invitation, and I hope you’ll choose to do the same. You have been invited to worship the greatest Being in the universe. Spend your treasure and talent and time on Him. He’s worth it!

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.