Skip to content ↓

On Preparing Your Hands for Church

On Preparing Your Hands for Church

Sometimes I almost prefer not to tell who I am quoting. Sometimes people see the name and either tune out altogether, or they respond so enthusiastically they fail to exercise due discernment. But in this case, this quote is so good and helpful that I wanted to share it with you. I will even tell you where it’s from, but read it first, and I will tell you at the end. I hope it provides you a suitable challenge as you think about worshiping with the Lord’s people on this fine Sunday.

The proper use of all the good gifts we have received is the free and generous sharing of those gifts with others. No more certain principal or more effective exhortation for keeping that rule is imaginable than this: Scripture teaches us that all the gifts we utilize are given to us by God. And they are given along with this law of our faith—that they be put to use for the good of our neighbors. But Scripture goes even further than this when it compares us and the gifts we’ve been given to the members of a human body. No member of the body exists to serve itself, nor does each member exist merely for its own private use. Rather, it puts its abilities to use for the other members of the body. Nor does any member of the body alone receive any advantage from itself outside of that which belongs to the entire body.

Whatever, therefore, a godly man is able to do, he should do it for his brothers. He should consider his own interests only in so far as he sets his mind on the general edification of the whole church. Let this, then, be our rule for kindness and benevolence: We are merely stewards of whatever gifts God has given to us in order to help our neighbors. We must give an account of our stewardship, and right stewardship is that which is fueled by the rule of love. Consequently, we must not merely join zeal for the good of others with concern for our own well-being, but we must submit concern for our own well-being to the good of others.

To help us better understand that this law of stewardship rightly applies to whatever gifts we receive from Him, God applied this law to the smallest gifts of His kindness in former times. For He commanded that the firstfruits of His people’s produce be offered to him. “The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God” (Ex. 23:19). In this way, God’s people of old testified that it was wrong to secure any profit from their produce before it was consecrated to God. Now, if God’s gifts to us are ultimately sanctified to us after our hands have offered them back to their very author, any use of those gifts that is not perfumed by such an offering will be a corrupt abuse of them. But we would strive in vain to increase the Lord’s wealth by offering our gifts to Him. Since, therefore, our kindness—as the Prophet says—cannot reach Him, we should practice it toward His saints who are on earth (Ps. 16:2-3). Thus our charitable gifts are compared to holy sacrifices, since they correspond to those sacrifices that were required by the law (Heb. 13:16).

This sweet little quote is taken from The Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin as translated and published by Reformation trust. Please do yourself a favor and read the whole book (which, to be fair, is all of 120 small pages).

  • Redeeming Sex in Marriage

    Redeeming Sex in Marriage

    Surely few things in this world are more mysterious than sex. Surely few things give such clear evidence that there must be more to them than the sum of their parts. On the one level, sex is a simple biological function that exists to populate the earth with human beings. On the other level, it…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (May 22)

    A La Carte: What should we think about paedocommunion? / Ten questions for readers of erotica / You are an influencer / Do you believe your pasture’s green? / Adam poisoned me / Kindle and Logos deals / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (May 21)

    A La Carte: A theology of immigration / Christian catholicity in an online age / Violent pornography’s assault on the marriage bed / Heresy that warrants no apology / Franchising church / With each passing moment / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Why Do I Feel Such Profound Loneliness?

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers and is written by Steve DeWitt. The story of human loneliness has its roots in the character of God and God’s purpose in creating us.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created…

  • Stop Swiping Start Serving

    Stop Swiping, Start Serving

    I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that in the past few weeks, you have probably not gotten rip-roaring drunk nor participated in a debauched drinking party. You have probably not given yourself over to rampant sexual immorality or a life obsessed with sensuality. At least, I hope not

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (May 20)

    A La Carte: What media got wrong about supposed Christian self-immolation / We are walking on holy ground / “His Glory and My Good” / How pop Nietzscheanism masquerades as Christianity / Why a full calendar doesn’t necessarily produce mature church members / Thinking biblically about social justice / John Piper Kindle deals / and…