Center of Hope Devotion – June 1, 2021

Dear Friends,

Whether it is guessing the number of candies in a jar, counting the weeks until vacation, or paying for groceries, our lives are filled with tallies. Even so, Bible passages like the start of Ezra tend to be more eye-glazing than eye-grabbing. And yet, those dry tallies were important enough to be recorded in Scripture.

They show us that rebuilding the temple was extremely costly both in human labor and monetary wealth. Around fifty thousand people returned to help with the construction and contributed their finances to the project.

Everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts (Ezra 1:5–6).

For the returning exiles, rebuilding the temple represented re-centering their lives on the Lord. What will it take for you to keep God at the core of your life? It requires a tremendous output of energy and resources.

Thought for Today: What would you do and give to keep God as your heart’s focus?