Summary: Many people think all that’s involved in being a Christian is walking an aisle or praying a prayer. That might be how God called you to salvation, but that’s not the end of it. Responsibilities come with being a Christian.
1. The responsible example of giving
2. The responsible location of giving
3. The responsible attitude of giving
4. The responsible abundance of giving
5. The responsible priority of giving
In his book, The Quest For Character, Chuck Swindoll tells about a terrible thing that happened a few years back. It seems that a vandal ran into an art museum in Amsterdam with a knife. He ran up to a priceless Rembrandt painting and slashed it to ribbons. Just a short time later, another vandal snuck into St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome with a hammer. He took his hammer and began to smash Michelangelo’s beautiful sculpture of Mary holding the crucified body of Jesus called The Pieta. If you had seen either one of those priceless works of art at that time, you would have thought they were lost forever. The painting was shredded and tattered and torn. The statue was defaced and broken. The only thing they were good for was the garbage, right? Wrong. Because in the hands of the most gifted artists and experts available, those masterpieces were restored. Nearly 70 years before, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. To look at it then, you would have thought there was no way to restore it. But God had a plan. Even though the people had been disobedient and were now being punished for their disobedience, God had a plan for their restoration. Our text tonight brings us to the third of the four restorations God deemed necessary before His people were ready to rebuild the temple foundations. He has already restored His resources by transferring the things He had set aside for His worship from the Babylonians to His people. He has also already restored His remnant by providing all the different kinds of people He chose to perform His work. Now it’s time for God to restore the people’s responsibility. God’s restorations up until this point have all taken place in Babylon. But now it’s time for them to arrive in Jerusalem. It is interesting that Scripture says nothing of their journey. Even though it was a journey of around 1000 miles, Scripture is silent about the trip. As a matter of fact it boils the whole thing down to three words there in verse 68: “When they came.” Notice that just because they physically arrived in Jerusalem, they hadn’t really arrived. Just because they were done with the journey, that didn’t mean they were prepared for their task. A journey of 1000 miles was just a step along the way. As a matter of fact it was such an insignificant step along the way that it didn’t even merit discussion. It was only worth three words in the biblical text. It was the first step that flowed from their obedience to being called out as God’s remnant. But taking that walk wasn’t the extent of it. There were responsibilities that came with following God. It’s a sad thing that there are so many people today who think that all that’s involved in being a Christian is simply walking an aisle or praying a prayer. That might be the way that God called you to salvation, but that’s not the end of it. It’s really just the first few words in your Christian testimony. Just like the people in our text tonight, taking the walk isn’t the extent of it. There are responsibilities that come with being a Christian. That’s what I want for us tonight. I don’t want any of us to think we’ve arrived after the Lord’s taken us on that walk of salvation. I want each of us to eagerly and joyfully fulfill our responsibilities as Christians. In order to do that, we’re going to look at five restored responsibilities of giving. First is the responsible example of giving. Verse 68 points out “some of the chief of the fathers.”