“Barzillai was a very aged man, 80 years old. He had provided the king with food while he stayed in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man.”
-2 Samuel 19:32
I want to introduce you to someone in the Bible that I’m guessing you know very little, if anything, about. His name is Barzillai. That’s who’s mentioned here in 2 Samuel 19:32, and he was known for providing for David’s household. When the rebellion against King David ended, it was Barzillai who went with David and his people to the shore of the Jordan River, where they would cross back into Judah on their way into Jerusalem. And at that time, he was 80 years old, and David offered Barzillai to return to Jerusalem with him, so he could return his kindness and care for his needs.
God, help us to care for and build up your church with generosity, and hospitality, and kindness.
And the picture we have of Barzillai is a man with a reputation for loyalty to God, for loyalty to the king, and for kindness, hospitality, provision, and care for those around him. He used his wealth and his influence for the benefit of others, and in this way, he offers us a great, practically unknown picture here in the Old Testament, of loyalty, and generosity, and kindness, and devotion to God and his people.
When I read this story of Barzillai, I think about the body of Christ around the world, made up of individuals who very few people will ever know their names, but their loyalty to God, their generosity toward people, specifically, those with resources, who behind the scenes are using those resources to care for, provide for those in need, to build up the people of God, to spread the gospel of God. And in this way, for all of us to be encouraged, it’s not about having a particular name or being known for this or that, for all of us today to faithfully use the resources God has given us to glorify him, to build up others, to show kindness toward others, all ultimately for the purpose of God, for the strengthening of his people, his church, and for the spread of his glory in the world.
And so we pray based on 2 Samuel 19:32 and this picture of Barzillai, God, help us, each one of us, today to be faithful in the small things, and in big things, and big opportunities you may give us, but in everything for each of us, God, help us not to care about our names. Help us to faithfully follow you today, to live with loyalty to you, to love you with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to care for those around us, to build up your church, the people of God who you have put us in community with. God, help us to care for and build up your church with generosity, and hospitality, and kindness.
And God, we pray that you would use each of us to make your glory known in the world today, and all the different places where we will go, and the different people we will interact with, God, we pray that you would use us to point them to you. In a John 3:30 kind of way, may we all become less today, and may you become greater through our lives. And God, as we prayed yesterday for the Southern Pashtun of Afghanistan, we pray today for the Northern Pashtun of Afghanistan, almost three million of them. God, we pray that you would use the resources you’ve entrusted to us, the wealth you’ve given to us, the opportunities you’ve given to us, to make your grace and your glory known among all the nations, including Afghanistan and the Pashtun people there.
God, we pray that just as Barzillai played his part, a significant part in 2 Samuel 19, that each of us would play the significant part you have given us to play, you’ve invited us to play, in the spread of your glory among all the nations. God, we pray that your grace toward us would be to great effect for your glory through us in this world, again, in small things and in big things. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.