Spend, Be Spent, and Serve to the End

“Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they crossed the Jordan… When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat, for they said, ‘The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness…’

“Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim, and he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. He had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. And the king said to Barzillai, ‘Come over with me, and I will provide for you with me in Jerusalem.’ But Barzillai said to the king, ‘How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?  I am this day eighty years old. Can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king… Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham. Let him go over with my lord the king…’ Then all the people went over the Jordan, and the king went over. And the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home.” 2 Samuel 17:22,27-29; 19:31-37,39

Barzillai the Gittite aged over his many years, lost his sense of hearing and taste, but he never retired. He never stopped delighting in serving his king. He who had received much gave much. Grateful for all he had been enabled to do and have, even in old age he abounded in loyalty and steadfast love toward his sovereign, supplying particular blessing in a particularly challenging time. (Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Kings 2:7; Isaiah 42:1,6-7; Luke 12:48)

Do we see our wealth of ability, resources, energy, the same way? Is our vision limited by a self-motivated ‘bucket list’ of what we want to spend on, or inspired by the vastness of our Lord and what He might have for us to give? Will we take time and attention to pray for sensitivity to needs around us, for ways to serve, provide, and be a blessing to others, therefore spreading abroad the love and light of Christ? How are we supporting, encouraging, helping to meet the needs of God’s children?

Whether food, sweet fellowship, practical help, or kind affection, to the end of our days, God delights in our offerings that provide for His own.

Lord, may I redeem the time You have given me here. Give me sensitivity to seen and unseen needs of others. Compel me to spend and be spent for the sake of Your name and people, to serve as You have served me. (Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 12:15; Ephesians 5:15-16)

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