2 Kings 12:1-16 (Part 2) – Having A Schindler Sense of Urgency in Our Churches

Posted: July 19, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 12:1-16 (Part 2 of 3)

Joash Repairs the Temple

Money in the bank but the seats are empty. That’s the condition of many churches today. The people that are there give well to their church and they love the Lord but there are no new families coming in the door on Sundays. With each death of a member, the congregation gets smaller. That is the fate of many churches in America. They have plenty of money in the bank and they have beautiful structures and well maintained lawns, but no new people are coming in the doors on Sundays. That’s what I thought of this morning. Here in this passage, we have an example of the Temple falling into disrepair and needing a general sprucing up because of lack of attention and lack of funds. We often have the opposite problem in American churches. Plenty of money. Nice facilities. But no new people.

Falling into disrepair may lie in the future of many American churches because, as I said previously, with each death of a member, the church gets smaller and the financial pie gets smaller. It will eventually happen to many American churches. It has already happened to many. Often in churches, it is inevitable that we begin thinking inwardly and we spend money on things to make our churches more beautiful and make our church life more comfortable. As a result, evangelism and outreach budgets dwindle and spending on these budget line items is always less than budget. How much has your church spent on evangelism and outreach in the last six months?

That’s the thing that American churches have got to wake up from. Inward spending and making sure the bank accounts are hefty will not bring people into our doors. We must spend outwardly. We must spend money on evangelism and outreach that is more than a token amount. If we are to survive as American churches in a post-modern world where Christianity and all religious things are seen as irrelevant to people’s everyday lives, we must spend our resources on unique, unusual, and uncommon ways to demonstrate to our communities that we love them and care for them.

We are commanded by Christ to “go” and “make disciples”. He did not say, “sit on the steps”. We have to go. And the going costs money. Even Jesus’ earthly itinerate ministry going from town to town cost money. Just look at Luke 8:1-3. There is direct reference there to the fact that His ministry on earth did indeed actually have to be financed by his supporters. Therefore, the money that we give to our churches out to be used for the going. Sure, we have to take care of our buildings and all that goes with that, but that should not be primary concern of our dollars at our churches.

That’s the idea that came to mind as I read through this passage for a second time for today’s blog. It is that idea that American churches will fall into disrepair like the Temple if there is no one there at the church. Let’s read 2 Kings 12:1-16 once more now:

Chapter 12

1 [a]Joash[b] began to rule over Judah in the seventh year of King Jehu’s reign in Israel. He reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother was Zibiah from Beersheba. 2 All his life Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 Yet even so, he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there.

4 One day King Joash said to the priests, “Collect all the money brought as a sacred offering to the Lord’s Temple, whether it is a regular assessment, a payment of vows, or a voluntary gift. 5 Let the priests take some of that money to pay for whatever repairs are needed at the Temple.”

6 But by the twenty-third year of Joash’s reign, the priests still had not repaired the Temple. 7 So King Joash called for Jehoiada and the other priests and asked them, “Why haven’t you repaired the Temple? Don’t use any more money for your own needs. From now on, it must all be spent on Temple repairs.” 8 So the priests agreed not to accept any more money from the people, and they also agreed to let others take responsibility for repairing the Temple.

9 Then Jehoiada the priest bored a hole in the lid of a large chest and set it on the right-hand side of the altar at the entrance of the Temple of the Lord. The priests guarding the entrance put all of the people’s contributions into the chest. 10 Whenever the chest became full, the court secretary and the high priest counted the money that had been brought to the Lord’s Temple and put it into bags. 11 Then they gave the money to the construction supervisors, who used it to pay the people working on the Lord’s Temple—the carpenters, the builders, 12 the masons, and the stonecutters. They also used the money to buy the timber and the finished stone needed for repairing the Lord’s Temple, and they paid any other expenses related to the Temple’s restoration.

13 The money brought to the Temple was not used for making silver bowls, lamp snuffers, basins, trumpets, or other articles of gold or silver for the Temple of the Lord. 14 It was paid to the workmen, who used it for the Temple repairs. 15 No accounting of this money was required from the construction supervisors, because they were honest and trustworthy men. 16 However, the money that was contributed for guilt offerings and sin offerings was not brought into the Lord’s Temple. It was given to the priests for their own use.

In this passage, for today’s blog, we see that the temple needed repair because it had been damaged and neglected. The Temple was to be a holy place, set apart for worship of God. The neglected condition shows that no one was there to really care about what the place looked like. It got me to thinking that we often have the opposite happening in the 21st century. We have nice buildings at many American churches but no one new is coming in. We spend our money on making things nice and comfortable, an inward view of spending, but we spend little on evangelism and outreach, an outward view of spending. We may have money in the bank but we have no new people coming in our churches.

That’s the challenge and the takeaway this morning. Certainly, we must be wise with our money in our churches. We hold a sacred responsibility to spend it wisely, efficiently and with transparency. Certainly, any church member should be able to sit down with the church finance team and examine the church spending habits. Certainly, we should invest money to make more money where we can as churches. We should do these things so that we have money to spend on the right things.

If evangelism and outreach are among the smallest items in the church budget, then, we will have beautiful buildings for a while but we will have no one new in our churches. There is an old saying about people and money that says, “you can’t take it with you!” or that “you never see a U-Haul behind a hearse”. Would it not be a shame for our churches to close their doors for good because no one is there but have significant funds at the bank that must be passed on to another church? Sure, like I said, we must be wise with our money but let us not think that the church with the most funds in the bank when Jesus returns is the winner.

Let us be churches that budget significantly for evangelism and outreach. Let our evangelism and outreach budgets be a significant part of our annual budgets – maybe even the biggest part of our budgets not having to do with staff compensation. Let us be aware that the money we spend there may not always bring immediate results but that we must continue to fund efforts to reach our communities in unique, uncommon and loving ways.

Let us not be a church that if it disappeared that no one in the community would notice. Let us be churches that if we disappeared it would leave a huge hole in our community. Let us be that church that extravagantly loves its community and loves the community no matter who you are. Let our budgets reflect an outward focus. Let us do more than SAY we care about reaching out to our community and drawing them unto the Lord. Let us DEMONSTRATE it in the way we budget and spend our money. Let us demonstrate it in the way we spend the time and talents of our people.

Let us not fade away into the heap of dead churches. Let us be like Oskar Shindler in the final scene of Schindler’s List:

Oskar Schindler: I could have got more. I could have got more, I don’t know. If I just…I could have got more.

Itzhak Stern: Oskar, there are 1,100 people who are alive because of you. Look at them.

Oskar Schindler: If I had made more money. I threw away so much money. (laughs, then gets teary-eyed) You have no idea. If I just…

Itzhak Stern: There will be generations because of you.

Oskar Schindler: I didn’t do enough.

Itzhak Stern: You did so much.

Oskar Schindler: This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people. This pin…two people. This is gold. Two people. He would have given me two more, at least one. One more person. A person, Stern, for this. (starts crying) I could have got one more person, and I didn’t! I — I — I — I didn’t!

Let us as churches have that Schindler sense of urgency, that we could have done more, that we could have influenced one more and one more and one more.

Amen and Amen.

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