Now the leaders offered the dedication offering for the altar when it was anointed; so the leaders offered their offering before the altar. For the LORD said to Moses,“They shall offer their offering,one leader each day, for the dedication of the altar.” and the one who offered his offering on the first day was Nashon the son of Amminadab, from the tribe of Judah. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundredand thirty shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary,both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering.
NUMBERS 7:10-13 NASB
As you approach this blog post an initial response could be, “this post does not apply to me—I do not have china,” and that may be true, but you do have vessels in which you serve food. These vessels may be bone china, stoneware, earthenware, plastic, stainless steel, pewter, enamelware, silver, wood, or paper. The material from which our vessels are made is not the question—rather the question is, have the vessels been consecrated to our Master’s use?
Consecration, by definition, is the action of making or declaring sacred, dedicating to the service of a deity, devoting or dedicating to some service, or hallowing.[i] As we consider consecrating our vessels to our heavenly Father, we must first acknowledge the most significant consecration as believers—the consecration of ourselves! When our lives are consecrated to Him, we are able to acknowledge that we are unable to practice biblical hospitality without His blessing. This means that we will acknowledge that we are like the vessel that Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 4:7—lowly, common, expendable and replaceable. However, because we belong to our heavenly Father, His power overcomes our weaknesses and allows us to be a vessel used for His honor and glory (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)! Frances Havergal summarizes this thought by writing, “Full consecration may be in one sense the act of a moment and in another the work of a lifetime. It must be complete to be real, and yet—if real it is always incomplete. Consecration is a point of rest and yet a perpetual progression.”[ii] Once salvation, “the act of a moment,” is completed we are then ready for the “perpetual progression.” As a part of our perpetual “progression,” let’s examine LOVE 2020, a strategy designed to reach out with the love of Jesus to your sphere of influence. The Mission America Coalition is calling God’s people to a simple, powerful lifestyle of praying, caring, and sharing the love of Jesus. Perhaps you consider following these simple steps.
John 15 speaks of the relationship of believers to Christ. Verse 4 is a reminder that “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” Regardless of one’s health, economic condition, or season of life every believer has the opportunity to pray for others to become a part of God’s eternal family. Matthew 9:35-38 records Jesus’ request to pray for workers to reach the harassed, helpless, and lost. Are you willing to apply 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and “pray without ceasing” for others?
It is a familiar statement that others won’t are about what we know if they do not know how much we care. The caring portion of the lifestyle is best illustrated in Luke 10:25-37. It made no difference how much the Lawyer knew if the knowledge did not stimulate acts of love (James 2:18). Are you willing to follow Jesus’ challenge to the Lawyer to “Go and do likewise”? (10:37)
Our greatest commodity in this world is our time. To share it with a heart of love and compassion is the ultimate springboard for sharing the greatest gift of all . . . Jesus Christ!” Luke 6:38 is a reminder that we are always blessed when we share out our resources with others. Moses’ call to ministry recorded in Exodus 3 and 4 teaches that our heavenly Father is interested in action, not excuses. Exodus 4:2 asked Moses to simply use what was already available to him, a rod. If your heavenly Father asked you what is in your hand what would be your response? Are you willing to share it with others?
www.LOVE2020.com offers resources to assist you in sharing the love of Christ within your sphere of influence. May you be challenged to embrace the prayer-care-share lifestyle so that you are applying our Lord’s final instructions to His disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
A study of scripture reveals that it was the home, not the church that served as the center for evangelism in the early expansion of Christianity. Michael Green writes, “One of the most important methods of spreading the gospel in antiquity was the use of homes.”[i] He then affirms the home of Aquila and Priscilla by stating, “Homes like this must have been exceedingly effective in the evangelistic outreach of the church.”[ii] Our homes becoming places of centers for evangelism when they, like our china, are consecrated to our Lord. This can be done through dinner fellowships, luncheons, teas, craft parties, children’s events, coffee chats, holiday fests, open houses, walking partners, etc. The necessary ingredient is a selfless, loving heart in which the love of God has been shed abroad (Romans 5:5) and in which a burden for the lost has been placed.
As the LOVE 2020 strategy suggests, begin your planning time with a Prayer of Consecration. It is helpful to write out the prayer, review it each time you extend biblical hospitality, and modify it as you mature spiritually, as well as in your hospitality skills. Your prayer might read something like this:
Gracious heavenly Father, thank you for your Word that challenges me to love both friends and strangers. Please help me to be excited about welcoming them into my home. Thank you for my home—may it always be a place of refuge, safety, protection, security, and refreshment for those who enter it. As well, I ask that it will be a center for evangelism and that I will at all times be ready to communicate the relationship that I share with You to those who cross its threshold. Realizing that I cannot extend biblical hospitality without Your strength, I ask that You empower me so that I am a useful vessel for Your kingdom. Thank you for the material vessels You supplied—I consecrate each one to Your service. I am grateful for the time and money to invest in this occasion. Please multiply both so that my guests will visibly see Your Hand of provision. I request that my actions and words will be gracious, and that my guests would leave my home knowing more of You because they have spent time with me. Help me to always be careful to give You the praise for the positive results that come forth when I extend hospitality and to humbly accept Your response of “no” when the requests I prayed for are not visible. Thank you for Your love—help me to model it as I extend biblical hospitality.In Your Name I pray, AMEN
- Extend the invitation—receiving an invitation in the mail is much more exciting than a phone call or an e-mail.
Prayerfully consider whom our Lord would have included on your guest list.
Select a paper or invitation that communicates your theme. Make the message simple—include your name, the occasion, date, time, R.S.V. P. deadline and telephone number.
- Pray daily for the guests that will be attending.
- Craft your menu.
- Organize your consecrated china and any necessary linens.
- Develop both a spiritual and physical time table.
Physically I will . . .
- Prepare my guest list.
- Create my menu.
- Prepare my time schedule.
- Decide on my table linens.
- Select my table appointments (china, silver, glassware, etc.).
- Make certain that all of my table appointments are spotless.
- Sacrifice my time and energy to clean my home and prepare for the.
- Serve my guests.
- Intentionally direct the conversation in wholesome avenues.
- Tidy my home after the event.
Spiritually I will . . .
- Thank my heavenly Father that I am included on the guest list for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7).
- Bring to mind God’s providential care of me (Psalm 104:27, 136:25, 145:15-16).
- Evaluate my use of time in relation to the brevity of life (Psalm 90:12).
- Recall that I was purchased with a price(1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
- Bring to mind that God gave Moses specific instructions for the table appointments for the tabernacle including the color of the table linens (Numbers 4:7-10).
- Focus on being a vessel of honor (2 Timothy 2:21).
- Examine my heart to ensure that it is clean (Psalm 24:4, 51:10).
- Remind myself of Christ’s sacrifice for me (Luke 24:44-47).
- Reflect on Christ’s example of servanthood (John 13:1-20).
- Model the speech of the Wise Woman (Proverbs 31:26).
- Think about the process of cleansing from sin (1 John 1:7, 9).
As you consider this strategy it is my prayer that you will be motivated to consecrate your china to our Lord’s use today, wherever you reside, so that you too may have a part in sharing our Lord’s love in word and deed with every individual within your sphere of influence.
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands” (Psalm 138:6-8).
Therefore, I may boldly say, “Though I can add effort to what God has given me to do, the basic building blocks are all courtesy of Him.”
If you are in the Fort Worth area, consider scheduling a tour of Horner Homemaking House, Southwestern’s Management Model where our Homemaking classes are taught. If you would like a sample chapter of The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook simply click on Contact Pat to request your copy.
As well, you might enjoy attending the “Building a Culture of Biblical Femininity in the Home, Church and Community” Conference on the Southwestern campus October 1-3. Visit www.RockCreekBC.org for more information.
Look for my new book, God is My Strength, Fifty Biblical Responses to Issues Facing Women Today, scheduled for a September release by Christian Focus Publishing.
[i] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, ed., s.v. “consecrate.”
[ii] Frances Havergal, Kept for the Master’s Use (Chicago: Moody, 1999) p. 23.
[i] Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), p.236.
[ii] Ibid., p. 207.