So far in connection with our five-year anniversary we’ve looked at the words “Celebration,” and “Examination.” This week’s word is “Dedication.” According to Google’s online dictionary, “Dedication” is defined as, “The quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose.”
Great athletes, great students, and pretty much anybody else that wants to do something great, knows this definition, because they know that it takes great dedication to achieve the desired results. Dedication is one of those words that we’re probably never totally comfortable with because we know that dedication usually brings with it other words like, “sacrifice,” “service” and “cost.”
Dedication has another meaning though. Again, according to the online definition, “Dedication” is “The action of dedicating a church or other building.” We find an example of this understanding of the word in the Old Testament.
And the sons of Israel, the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. (Ezra 6:16)
After the people of Israel came back from exile they rebuilt the Temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians years before. It was a great achievement that God allowed them to accomplish for His glory. It was a time of great joy and gratitude to God for all that He had brought them through, and for His great mercy that He showed toward them in forgiving their rebellion and bringing them back into the land.
Interestingly enough, both understandings of the word “dedication” were in play. The people could never have had a “dedication” of the Temple if they had not had “dedication” to getting the job done. It wasn’t easy, and they faced obstacles along the way. But the people made sacrifices, they gave their service to the task, and they were willing to pay the cost to achieve the task God had given to them.
Our task at Cross Culture Church is not unlike theirs. God has given us the privilege of building a church for His honor and glory. Not a church of brick and mortar, (Not yet anyway) but a church of living stones, as the Apostle Peter puts it:
You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)
Our calling is to be used by God to draw people to Him, and see their lives radically transformed by the power of the Gospel. It isn’t easy, and we face obstacles along the way. Like anybody that wants to see something great take place it takes great dedication. I’m so grateful for all of you who are so dedicated to this work. And I’m praying that God would draw others to Him through this ministry who will be equally dedicated.
We’ll have to keep making sacrifices. We’ll have to keep serving. And we’ll have to keep paying the cost, because that’s what dedication requires. But as we are faithful to the call we will see God building His church one living stone at a time. And like the people of Ezra’s day we will “celebrate the dedication of this house of God with joy.”
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