|Volume 24 Number 11 November 2022
Service That Makes a Difference
The Old Testament records a revealing statement in 2 Chronicles 17:16. It reads, “…Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself to the Lord…” (NKJV). The book of 2 Chronicles is one of the least studied books in the Bible. This biblical declaration is one that is easy to miss when reading through the chapter. Yet, it brings to mind some practical applications that will benefit us as we strive to give our best efforts in the Lord’s service.
“Amasiah, the son of Zichri.” The text does not merely say that there was a man who “willingly offered himself to the Lord,” but we know his name. More importantly, the Lord knew his name. It is also true that the Lord knows our individual service to Him. Furthermore, the Lord expects us to be active in His service. The apostle Paul exhorted, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).
“Willingly.” This describes the service Amasiah rendered to the Lord. He did not have to be begged, but he readily offered himself. Willing service, rather than service that is rendered reluctantly, pleases the Lord. The Lord’s message to Solomon emphasizes this point. “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts…” (1 Chronicles 28:9). Charles Spurgeon commented, “Service willingly rendered has a fragrance and a bloom about it that make it most delightful and acceptable.”
“Offered Himself.” Amasiah neither offered a material possession, nor did he hire someone to work. Instead, Amasiah devoted his own or personal efforts. This attitude is found in Romans 12:1, as Paul urged Christians, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
“To the Lord.” Amasiah’s service was directed toward the Lord. While many others engaged in the same work as Amasiah, his purpose was to please the Lord. This was the driving force of his efforts. The same is to be true of us as well. We learn from Romans 12:11, “Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Viewing our service as being to the Lord provides us with the proper perspective. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).
Second Chronicles 17:16 depicts the attitude, followed by corresponding activity, which ought to characterize every Christian today. Irrespective of in which religious dispensation children of God lived or live – Patriarchy, Judaism or Christianity – willingly offering oneself to God is commendable. We, today, need to adopt the disposition the Macedonians of 2 Corinthians 8:5 where “they first gave themselves to the Lord.”
Spurgeon, Charles Haddon. “Wanted! – Volunteers.” The Spurgeon Center. 14 Oct 2022. <https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/wanted-volunteers#flipbook/>.
One of the saddest experiences a preacher, counselor or teacher will ever experience is that of looking into the sad face of one with whom he has lovingly studied and counseled for some time, and have to say, “Your present marriage is not scriptural, and so, your desire to become a Christian hangs upon your separation from the unscriptural partner you now embrace, followed then, by full and complete acceptance of God’s marriage laws as laid out in the Bible.” Do not be deluded! Being baptized will neither wash away the unscriptural marriage nor anything else for which there has been no repentance and prayer. A thief who stole $10,000.00 and hid it under his bed can maintain that he has repented until torment freezes over, but as long as he retains the money, he has neither repented nor cleared himself of the wrongdoing. Just so! A man who has contracted an unscriptural marriage can proclaim aloud that he’s repented, but until he divests himself of his illegitimate (unscriptural) marriage partner, he is living in sin!
The present live-in craze that has swept through most nations of the Earth in the last few years is nothing but fornication or adultery, depending upon the circumstances. Those who foolishly reason that they should try the marriage arrangement for a season, to see if they can adjust to it, wouldn’t think of going down to Walmart, lifting a new automotive battery from the shelf, taking it home and runing it for a few weeks before agreeing to pay for it. Such would be absurd, but no more so than someone with a sound mind moving in with a partner without benefit of God’s marriage rules. Yet, look at the multitudes who are guilty of so doing! It’s reminiscent of the ungodly mess man had gotten himself into before the flood in Noah’s time. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5 NKJV).
Is there any way out of this malady? Of course, there is! When God inspired the apostle Paul, he went everywhere preaching the Truth! When he got to Corinth, he observed that they were very much like others of Earth in that they were given to doing what they wanted to do, regardless of what God had instructed them to do. What did Paul tell them? “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). Please note! Paul did not say, “Find you a sweet thing with a pretty body and little judgment,” and nor did he say, “Pick you out a good-looking man, and move in with him!” A “wife” and a “husband” was God’s remedy for this sinful state of affairs – not someone else’s wife or husband but one’s own, and only according to God’s Holy directives!
“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12). “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).