Sunday, 1 November 2009

Lotteries in the Temple Courts

In our Sunday morning adult class this morning, we studied Jesus' clearing of temple as recorded in John chapter 2

This episode can be seen on many levels, but one new one (new to me, anyway) came to my mind as we studied and shared.

The story revolves around the fact that, among other commercial endeavors, sacrifices for the Passover were being sold in the temple courts. Jesus drove them out with the cry, "How dare you turn my Father's house into a market."

Then I read This Blog on the Anglican Essentials blog, concerning the Anglican diocese of Niagara's need for $750,000.00 to cover, "...all those costs incurred, in part, when the four parishes left the Anglican church for the Network." These costs involve, "lost revenue" and legal expenses for lawsuits that, of course, should never have been instituted.

"Lost revenue..." Revenue... Just like the merchants in the temple courts needed (or coveted) revenue.

When the Passover was instituted, Exodus chapter 12 we see that if a family was too small for a whole lamb for themselves, one was to be shared. It occurred to me that there shouldn't have been any selling or purchasing of sacrifices at all in the temple courts. There should have been no need for selling or purchasing because there should have been sharing, according to the LORD's own command. Somewhere along the line, a sense of community, and caring for those in that community who needed help, was lost.

The point was also raised, this morning, that, in connection with all the Jewish feasts, the people were always to bring their, "firstfruits" to present to the LORD.
He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, O LORD, have given me.Deut 26:9-10

The LORD has also brought us to this place, the place of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. How can we also not offer Him our firstfruits. A community of true Christians, born-again believers, should be at the very least a tithing community.

And a church of tithers should never need to do fundraising for its own support. There should not be a need for bake sales, or garage sales, or lotteries, or any other kind of selling in the temple courts, simply to keep the organization afloat. Our community should be one of sharing with those among us who are in need, and one who brings our firstfruits to the LORD in grateful thanks for what He has done.

Take Care

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