TITLE: Stirred (Part 1) updated 12/24/15
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I love the story of Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. Her story doesn’t begin well, but her heroic deed at the end has me clapping for her.
Abigail was married to Nabal who is described in the scriptures as “surly, mean, and wicked.” David, whom God anointed to become king of Israel after the first Israelite King Saul, was hiding from Saul in the area where Abigail and Nabal lived. Saul was jealous of David and wanted to kill him because David had greater success than him on the battlefield and the Israelites acknowledged him as Saul’s successor.
David and his men had protected Nabal’s livestock day and night from desert raiders. Then at shearing time, David sent some of his men to ask Nabal for compensation for their services. But Nabal feigned ignorance of David and his men’s protection. This set David off into a rage. He ordered his men to, “Put on your swords!” So they put on their swords, and David put on his.
In the meantime, one of Abigail’s servants told her that Nabal had insulted David and to think about what to do since disaster was hanging over their whole household. Think about it? There was no need to. Abigail quickly packed a huge feast for David and his men, loaded it on donkeys, and instructed her servants to go ahead and she would follow them. Then Abigail got on her donkey and rode down a ravine to intercept the enraged David who was on his way to annihilate her entire household.
When she saw David and his men descending toward her, she swiftly dismounted, falling prostrate in front of him and said, “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you... Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal… And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent…And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you…When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself.” Abigail reminded David that God had a higher calling for him as Israel’s anointed king. Why have needless bloodshed on his hands?
David blessed Abigail for having the good judgment to keep him from vengeance. He also accepted her provisions.
Abigail’s story motivates me to be like her: encouraging people toward God and wisely providing for them.
My desire to give to others took a quantum leap when I learned about the National Christian Foundation (NCF), an organization that promotes wise giving. In 2007, Terry Parker, co-founder of the Atlanta, Georgia-based NCF, came to Honolulu to determine if there was any interest in starting a local NCF office. There were about ten people, including myself, who gathered at a Honolulu conference room to hear what Terry had to say about the Foundation.
When I entered the room, instead of immediately interacting with the people who were there, I was drawn to an open Bible placed at the center of the table. My heart started stirring…we often gather for Jesus, but sometimes forget to put Jesus at the center of our gathering. I wondered who had placed Jesus at the center of this gathering. I took a seat close to the Bible.
Terry started the meeting with prayer and read a portion of one of my favorite Bible chapters, 1 Chronicles 29, from the open Bible: “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours… Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things...” Terry had prepared to direct everyone’s attention to this chapter because it was King David’s acknowledgement of God as the source of all things. 1 Chronicles 29 also explains that the Israelites were only able to give what God had already generously given to them.
I’m inclined to 1 Chronicles 29 because it turns my attention away from worldly things and helps me to focus on God as the owner and provider of everything.
What floored me was that I had just shared this chapter the day before with a talented Christian musician, Mike Barques, owner of The Guitar Institute of Hawaii. Mike had not fully considered his musical talent as a gift from God, to praise Him with, until we reviewed this chapter—“everything in heaven and earth is yours…everything comes from you.” Mike nodded, “I knew that everything was from God, but hadn’t connected the source and goal of my music to Him. What I think is mine is really God’s.”
My affinity to this chapter and the fact that I had just encouraged someone to deepen his relationship with God through it stirred my heart even more.
Terry announced, “I have a polished NCF presentation for you, but instead of reviewing the presentation, I decided to let God stir your hearts.” He didn’t say anything else about NCF, leaving the printed presentation on the table for people to freely take. For the rest of the meeting, we ate sandwiches and listened to Terry’s Hawai’i tourist experiences.
I had anticipated learning something about charitable giving, since Terry held a Master of Law in Taxation and a Doctor of Law degree. Plus, he traveled the US for the purpose of promoting NCF. Terry, however, knew that giving was a heart issue, so he trusted God to spiritually move people. You can talk to someone about gift-related taxes and laws until you’re blue in the face, but your breath would be wasted if that person doesn’t have the heart to give.
I looked around the room at everyone, wondering if anyone else’s heart was like mine—stirring like a whirlwind. There was a tornado churning in my heart. It was like being in an airplane under turbulent weather, but the movement was internal, not external. I knew that God was quickly drawing me toward Him.
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