Total Consecration

Which Means “complete dedication to one’s calling. 

The Penurious Widow Casting her Mites

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8/8/07

The Deadly Virus of Celebrity Christianity

Just when I thought we charismatics had finally taken enough abuse from the egomaniac ministers in our midst, I’ve learned that some of our leaders are taking things to a new extreme. We’ve moved beyond the red carpets, limousines and entourages of the 1990s. A new strain of the celebrity virus is spreading in large segments of the church. One friend of mine in Texas recently inquired to see if a prominent preacher could speak at her conference. The minister’s assistant faxed back a list of requirements that had to be met in order to book a speaking engagement. The demands included: a five-figure honorarium, a $10,000 gasoline deposit for the private plane, a manicurist and hairstylist for the speaker, a suite in a five-star hotel, a luxury car from the airport to the hotel (2004 model or newer), room-temperature Perrier. This really makes me wonder how the apostle Paul, Timothy or Priscilla managed ministering to so many people in Ephesus, Corinth and Thessalonica. How did they survive without a manicurist if they broke a nail while laying hands on the sick? It gets worse, if you can believe it. At a charismatic conference in an East Coast city recently, a pastor stood on a stage in front of a large crowd and smugly announced that the guest speaker was “more than an apostle.” Then the host asked everyone to bow down to the person, claiming that this posture was necessary to release God’s power. “This is the only way you can receive this kind of anointing!” the host declared, bowing in front of the speaker. Immediately, about 80 percent of the audience fell prostrate on the floor. The few who were uncomfortable with the weird spiritual control in the room either walked out or stood in silent protest. So today, I guess it’s not enough to feed a celebrity preacher’s ego by treating them like a rock star. We also are required to worship him.

-Chuck Misler


~

Luke 21:1.  And Yahshua looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.  2.  And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.  3.  And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:  4.  For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of Yahweh: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. (KJV)

   Today we’ve had the privilege of consecrating some dear children to our Master Yahshua.  Through this month, we’ll be blessed to baptize several others and also bring in some new church members.  There are great commitments being made here, and we are gratified that the Holy Spirit is moving in such a mighty and public manner.  May Yahweh bless you all as we see his plan unfold through these next few weeks of leadership selection and planning for the future.

   I decided to break from the lectionary to speak on a subject of importance to our church leaders.  That subject is consecration, which means “dedication to one’s calling.  We are called to faith in Yahshua and to our church, but our highest calling is to be consecrated to our Father in Heaven and his Kingdom.  We professed our creed a little while ago; now let’s examine just how far we’ve progressed from profession to consecration.

 

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A Penurious Widow

   The subject of today’s Gospel text is an impoverished widow in the Jerusalem Temple at the receiving of the offering.  We call it, "taking up the collection."  The plate wasn’t passed in those days.  A cedar chest or "treasury" was set up in a public place and contributors lined up and marched past, dropping their gift into the treasury.  Consider that "she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."  (Penury means poverty.)  This widow contributed all her money; there was none left over for her daily bread.  We might this foolishness today, but only because we meet so few others willing to trust to such a high degree.

   This day, "Yahshua sat over against the treasury" and "he looked up" as the people marched down to make their offerings to Yahweh.  He saw the amount person contributed and also the amount retained.  He understood the motive for each gift.  Yahshua carefully observed the rich, the poor, the men, the women, the old, the young, as they approached the treasury.  Scripture tells us that, "And he saw also."  The "also" gives a certain charm to the story and points out something special.  There was nothing out of the ordinary in “the rich" nor in the "all these" of the lesson, but there was something striking in the "also." "And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in two mites," the smallest, least valuable of the Temple coins.  Here at the treasury, extremes in living met head on; the contrast between prosperous and penurious was compelling.  Yahshua exclaimed: "Truly, this poor widow has cast in more than everybody else: for the rest have cast in out of their abundance: but she has cast in out of her poverty."

   The prosperous probably gave a tithe (or tenth) of their income, undoubtedly feeling that they were very generous and meeting every financial requirement of Temple membership.  How different it was with the "also" giver, who "cast in all she had!"  Her trembling hand held but little, but that little was given to Yahweh in totality.  Her possessions were few and meager, but she was not afraid to give what little she had into the Creator’s hand.  A heart full of devotion motivated her gift.  Her manner was simple and eloquent with holy fervor.  The amounts that others gave or held back meant nothing to her.  She was worshipping Yahweh "in Spirit and in truth” and “seeing him who is invisible." It’s no wonder that Yahshua "looked up" when she approached the treasury.

Lessons on Consecration

   Here is a lesson on consecration for everyone who desires True Believer Perfection.  "Repentance toward Yahweh, and faith toward our Master Yahshua Messiah" are required of those who want to be justified before the Almighty; but total consecration is required for the purification of the heart.  The sinner repents herself and believes for pardon – but the believer consecrates herself and trusts for sanctity.  There is a wide difference between mere repentance and consecration, between asking forgiveness and presenting the body as a living sacrifice.  Today we deal with presenting – giving a present of one’s self, which is beautifully illustrated by the act of the dear widow:

To Whom is the Gift Presented?

   1.  First, she presents her gift to the Almighty.  She doesn’t present it to the church, the rabbi, the poor, nor to be seen.  She doesn’t present her offering because the church is overdrawn, nor because a new steeple is needed, nor because missions are opening, nor because she heard R. W. Shambach’s appeal for money on TV; no -- she presents to the Father because she loves Him and wishes to honor Him with all her substance. 

   In presenting her offering to the Father, the widow recognizes the ir­revocability of the transaction.  The two mites were no longer hers, but His.  The ownership of all her money had been legally transferred by mutual consent.  The mites were now in His treasury, in His possession, ready for His use, anywhere, any time, for any purpose.

   Consecrating as applied to presenting a living sacrifice to Yahweh simply means giving hands, feet, lips, eyes, tongue, ears, body, heart, mind, motives, will, time, talent, influence, all, everything, to Him -- as fully and freely and bindingly as the two mites were given.  Not consecrating them to the church, nor to service, nor to a mission, nor to Methodism, nor to a purpose, but to the Almighty Personage.  This living transaction was conscious, well considered, witnessed by angels and sealed in blood.  We are to be Yahweh’s, not our own – to be in His possession for His service, anywhere, any time, any way; to go or stay, to rejoice or weep, to be whole or suffer, to be something or nothing, to live or die, that "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done" in and through us.  The totality of the widow’s money was a token of the consecration of her life; we should seek to emulate her in consecrating our money, time, talents, service – and lives -- to Him.

How Much is Given?

   2.  Secondly, the widow gives "all the living that she had." Her offering isn’t a fraction or a tithe or a percentage, but "all.”   The “rich” at the treasury give "of their abundance," maybe a tenth, but keep the rest for themselves.  We understand that "rich" represents a large class of people like us, who consecrate a certain portion, but do not "present" their bodies, their all, to the Father.  We are willing to offer a fraction of our footsteps, a tip of our time, a slice of our service, a “hair” of our hearts, but small and not all; we are willing to devote a bit of our abundance of motives, talents, words, actions -- retaining the remainder.  Seldom do we pay out of penury.  We don’t have it to give!  We have countless commitments, scores of excuses, never-ending needs.  We trust Him with our prayers but not our affairs.

   We’ve heard it said, “No one can serve two masters." This means that our Master can’t depend upon hands, feet, tongue, teeth, time, that’s only partially or fractionally consecrated, for when He wants to use them, they are usually already occupied at some other busy-ness.  They belong to us, not Him.  But this lesson teaches us that we mustn’t be merely “partners with Yahweh,” for our Yahweh doesn't deal in fractions, only units.  "She cast in all the living she had."

The Results of Consecration

   This kind of casting-in is Scriptural consecration, nothing less is perfect.  Our total devotion to the Father will certainly produce gigantic gifts and fantastic fruits.  When you fully consecrate yourself, you may experience the grace that Wesley called “full salvation” as your heart is suddenly cleansed from all sin.  For after presenting our all, nothing remains our own.  Reckoning ourselves dead, sin and selfishness has no place left to hide within us.  In the twinkling of an eye, without any further effort, faith grasps the promises of the Word, the blood of Yahshua cleanses the heart, the Holy Spirit confirms the work, and a blessed consciousness of being "made every whit whole" fills the entire being.  And you can feel that happen, my friend.  It will be your testimony for forty years.

   So Yahshua is calling us to total consecration.  You and me.  Time, talents, gifts, service, body, soul.  Isn’t that what you pledged to Yahshua when you joined his service?  Well?  {Shake your head.}  I thought it was.  Consecration is good and healthy for you, for all your longings and searchings have been fulfilled, and you can quit your constant complaining.  When you cast all you have into the treasury, you will think thinner because you will be lighter.  You will feel fitter because you will be healthy.  You will be more alive because you will be special.  You will be made whole.  And because you are whole, you will also be holy and sanctified, an example for the prosperous around you, held in high esteem by these children and commended by our Master Yahshua as a good and faithful servant.  Now wouldn’t you like that? 

  

A First Step

   Yahshua is calling you to a first step today.  He has consecrated his body, his blood and all he has as a sacred offering -- to you!  As we pray the prayer of confession and consecration, collect our financial offering, then partake of his holy body and blood, take that step.  This same Yahshua is sitting over against the treasury again, watching.  Walk clean out of the old and into the new.  You can do it.  Yes you can. 

Jackson Snyder based on R. L. Selle  October 4, 2001