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If you’re going to get worked up over something…

Father, grant us an eternal perspective today. Help us see what we hang on to that is really just temporary, and what we ignore that we should treasure. This life is something we live quickly through, and there’s only so much that really maters in the middle of the noise. Give us wisdom to latch onto those things, and to leave what is worthless or fleeting behind. Give us ears to hear & eyes to see what maters most of all. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Luke 21:5-9
And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”

The disciples just heard about the widow’s offering moments before. Jesus talked to them about how her gift from the heart mattered more than someone else’s impressive looking gifts and offerings. He let them know it wasn’t about the pomp and ceremony, the first glance. Was this a ‘Nice story, bro.’ moment for the disciples? It sure sounds like it.

“Jesus, we get the widow, that’s sweet & she definitely has faith, but this place? This is still impressive. You can’t deny how awesome this building is.”

And we see a quick course correction by Jesus, again. He picks up right where He left off. This Temple was being freshly rebuilt. There was still work being done on it.The shine hadn’t worn off the steps or gutters even. In the face of a massive, moving human effort, Jesus was letting them know that it wasn’t going to stand for long. In fact the hinges on the gates wouldn’t even get a chance to start squeaking real good before the Romans came along and decimated the place. This impressive stuff was temporary, too.

It’s not the big offerings, the big stones that matter. We’re reminded by Solomon that life is temporary. He wrote Ecclesiastes as a treatise on the fleeting nature of pleasure, purpose & significance of human life apart from God. “Building projects?” he asks, “Meaningless.” Chasing after human passions, again he says, “Meaningless.” There is no eternal meaning in just doing things for the sake of doing them. There is no reward that actually comes from our little projects or attempts to draw attention to ourselves. It all turns to dust. Sounds uplifting, doesn’t it? But at the end of the book, Solomon brings it all back around and says that the end game for you & I is to honor & obey God with everything we have. That is where meaning comes from.

So the disciples ask a question of timing. They want to know when all this is going to happen. And that’s no surprise. Anyone would want to know that little tidbit. If you knew you were going to have a wreck on the way to work Monday, wouldn’t you change your route? If you knew a meteor was going to hit your hometown next Thursday, wouldn’t you warn people? Of course you would!

How do we prepare for the inevitable? How do we make sure that we are safe & square & that the people we care about have ample time to get clear, too? That is a perfectly sane & logical question to ask. What are the signs? How can we know?

Jesus doesn’t give them a day, hour or minute though. He warns them about something that is more pressing. More distractions & lies are coming. The Pharisees & Sadducees already had a hold on people and distracted them from God’s real desires for their lives. But now, after He goes, there will be more & times will be harder. But we aren’t to be distracted by that anymore than we are distracted by these big, impressive, temporary buildings & impressive offerings by impressive people.

Even the worst sorts of things are not to consume you. We have been given something better to consume our time, talent & treasure. There is a Kingdom on the move, a movement away from these temporary things & an eternal perspective to gain which propels us so far beyond this tangible, most, rust & thief prone things we see every day. If we will look to Jesus, and walk in the rhythms of His grace every day, then we will see what really matters. If we serve humbly & spend our life’s efforts on those things that really matter, we will see why timing is of the essence & why our concern needs to be for those who will find themselves unprepared when that day of wrath & judgment comes. We don’t build sandcastles in the face of waves. We work for the One who parts the sea itself & dries up the water so we can move beyond into promise & deeper things.

Eyes up. Heart aligned. Move in what matters today & leave the rest behind.

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Numbers 28 // An interactive faith

“1 The Lord spoke to Moses, 2 “Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘Be sure to present to Me at its appointed time My offering and My food as My fire offering, a pleasing aroma to Me.’ 3 And say to them: ‘This is the fire offering you are to present to the Lord:

Each day present two unblemished year- old male lambs as a regular burnt offering. 4 Offer one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at twilight, 5 along with two quarts of fine flour for a grain offering mixed with a quart of olive oil from crushed olives.’ 6 It is a regular burnt offering established at Mount Sinai for a pleasing aroma, a fire offering to the Lord.””
Numbers 28:1-6

And along with these daily sacrifices, there was a double sacrifice for each Sabbath, and then monthly offerings as well. In total, each month would see about 75 lambs, two young bulls and a ram, in addition to all the drink and grain offerings. This does not include the possibility of a festival or holy day during that month, which would then increase the work of the priests and the people depending on what is to be done. Every day, every weekend and every month there was a constant line of sacrifices going through the tabernacle, a constant aroma of incense and burnt offerings, trumpets, prayers and songs, all being offered up to God as part of the worship His people would give Him.

And this wasn’t a dull, dusty, ritualistic, just-because-you-have-to type of faith. No. God set this all up to first bring honor and glory to Himself because He is worthy, but He also did this so we would have a way to interact with Him, to fulfill that primary component of our humanity, which is to worship Him with every facet of our being. There were always going to be daily, weekly and monthly opportunities to lift God up in praise. There were always going to be times of extra worship, celebration and somber remembrance.

God has blessed us with a faith that goes with us daily, that is always wafting around us, like the smoke in the Israelite camp. Little whiffs, aromas, that remind us of Him all throughout the day. A rhythm of worship, sacrifice, prayer, praise and His love, established to make that all important connection between the Maker and the made, the Shepherd and His sheep.
Again, every moment of it is meant for His glory, and is intended to be worship for Him. It -is- all about Him, after all. We benefit from this because this is what we were made for, and so our hearts find fulfillment, deep, lasting fulfillment, in worship.

As we GoLove others in the Name of Jesus, our lives should be a reflection of our acknowledgement that this is indeed our purpose. We should live lives of worship, praise, prayer, sacrifice, and all done in love of the One who first loved us. That sacrificial life is a clarion call above the pride and selfishness of the world, and the sinful behavior of mankind. We have been made for something far greater, and we will never find fulfillment until we find it in worship of our Great King, Jesus.

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