Gifts from those who are coming into a new season or place are legendary in Scripture.
Best known are the gifts of the Magi.
God specifically instructed the tribes in the desert to bring gifts for the dedication of the Tabernacle. David invested hugely in bringing the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem. Jacob sent an unnecessary gift to Esau when he was on his way back from Paddan Aram. The Queen of Sheba tried to one-up Solomon with her gifts. And the list goes on and on.
There are three gifts that stand out to me. The first is David at his accession to the throne. After the successful assault on the Amalekites, he did the traditional thing and sent tangible assets from the booty to the elders of Judah as a token of goodwill.
But the real treasure that he brought with him to the throne, was his men. Saul had a spirit of slavery and slaves reproduce after their own kind. So the national government lacked sons in the administration.
By contrast, David significantly upgraded the intellectual and social capital of the national government with the men who came out of the desert with him.
1 Chronicles 11:10 says, “These were the chiefs of David’s mighty men — they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the LORD had promised —” NIV
The second picture that I find quite compelling is the Apostles being sent out as representative of the King of Kings with no gift in hand.
I pondered that a lot for years. Why would the King want his ambassadors to be branded as paupers?
My conclusion is that his objective was just the opposite. Far from branding them as paupers, Jesus wanted to define the “currency” of the new Kingdom.
The treasure that they brought to the home of the leading citizen of each community was their virtue, their wisdom and their spiritual power.
I see this in Matthew 10:11ff. “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.” NIV
So the gift that they brought was themselves — who they had become while walking with Jesus, and this was a bigger, better gift than all the trinkets they could have purchased in the marketplace with the currency of the culture.
Peter crystallized this issue of alternative currencies with his laser sharp statement.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Acts 3:6 NIV
So, circling back to David, we see the hand of God preparing him through hardship. The time as a kid caring for the sheep, prepared him. The time in the court, prepared him. The time in the wilderness with his messy warriors, prepared him. The time as a double agent with the Philistines, prepared him.
It is a fascinating study of God’s technique in grooming a man for kingship.
Now let’s come down from such lofty heights and explore what the last 12 years here in Anaheim have done to me. My life has not been easy here, but it has been good. God has met me so many different ways. And this second season of SLG has been a very overt preparation for the third season — in Spartanburg.
For those of you who have known me for 12 years or so, I would be curious to hear your perspective on what God has done in me here (not through me). What changes have you seen, or to put it in specific terms, what am I bringing to Spartanburg above and beyond the business?
Copyright August 2018 by Arthur Burk