As many will know I spent a couple of weeks in Guy’s Hospital during August following a re-occurrence of my auto-immune condition which affected the platelet level in my blood. During the time that I was on the ward there was a constant round of blood tests and each afternoon I would await the results with growing anticipation and a certain sense of trepidation. Though for some of the time I felt absolutely fine [not so much for a five day period in the middle!] the daily blood results determined my real state of health … or rather, revealed my ill health. I know there will be many others within our church family who also have regular check ups, perhaps relating to insulin levels, kidney function, cholesterol or something else. Sometimes we are already aware that things are not quite right but at other times we and our medical team need the information in order to determine the state of our physical health.
When it comes to our spiritual health there are all sorts of tests that we can run to determine what’s happening in our soul. Whether we have an appetite to feed on God’s word each day and a desire to gather each week with the Lord’s people is one of the simplest tests to run. However, another important test is to have a look at our financial giving to the Lord’s work, whether in Sevenoaks or beyond. The proportion of our income that we give away to the Lord acts as a barometer to reveal what is happening in our hearts. Of course it’s a barometer that only you and the Lord see since no treasurer will know where else you choose to give and any information gleaned by a treasurer remains completely confidential. But the question arises as to how you will use this information known only to you and the Lord.
Sunday 17 November is our ‘Finance Sunday’ which will include a presentation at all our services. I will be preaching from Exodus 35 which may seem to be an obscure passage. However, it describes an incident after God’s people had been rescued from Egypt and had come through the Red Sea. Now they were to build a tabernacle and the passage reveals their generosity. It was a generosity fueled by their experience and knowledge of what the Lord had done for them. Holding up a spiritual barometer to them it is easy to see that after one or two ups and downs they were now in good spiritual health focussed on pleasing the LORD.
What about us? Our financial situation is complicated with many giving to the St Nicholas General Fund whilst others give to the Sevenoaks Gospel Trust [not forgetting the important work of the St Nicholas Mission Fund] but the really important question relates to our own spiritual health. Given what the Lord Jesus has done for us, what will we give to Him? Our financial giving will reveal the state of our spiritual health. The finances go towards supporting the work of Christ within Sevenoaks, mainly through funding staff members who are set apart for gospel ministry. Our giving enables these staff workers to get on with ministry in particular areas in order that the groups they work with are built up as believers whilst others come to know Christ as their Lord and Saviour. If our own hearts have been touched by the Lord Jesus Christ then we will want to see this happening more and more.
So, let us use this opportunity to examine ourselves and draw near to Christ considering all that He has done for us. Let’s pray that our energies and our finances will be directed to seeing His name honoured.
Yours in His service,