* Definition of willingness
Willingness means decision-making capacity, indicating a power of choice.
* Willingness to give
God did not require these special offerings, but he appealed to people with generous hearts. Only those who were willing to give were invited to participate. God loves people who give cheerfully. Our giving should be from love and generosity, not from a guilty conscience. (NLT)
Exodus 35:5-21 – Everyone is invited to bring these offerings to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen; goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; onyx stones, and other stones to be set in the ephod and the chest piece.
“Come, all of you who are gifted craftsmen. Construct everything that the Lord has commanded: the entire Tabernacle, including the sacred tent and its coverings, the clasps, frames, crossbars, posts, and bases; the Ark and its poles; the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement; the inner curtain to enclose the Ark in the Most Holy Place; the table, its carrying poles, and all of its utensils; the Bread of the Presence; the lampstand and its accessories; the lamp cups and the oil for lighting; the incense altar and its carrying poles; the anointing oil and fragrant incense; the curtain for the entrance of the Tabernacle; the altar of burnt offering; the bronze grating of the altar and its carrying poles and utensils; the large washbasin with its pedestal; the curtains for the walls of the courtyard; the posts and their bases; the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; the tent pegs of the Tabernacle and courtyard and their cords; the beautifully stitched clothing for the priests to wear while ministering in the Holy Place; the sacred garments for Aaron and his sons to wear while officiating as priests.”
So all the people left Moses and went to their tents to prepare their gifts. If their hearts were stirred and they desired to do so, they brought to the Lord their offerings of materials for the Tabernacle and its furnishings and for the holy garments.
* – David gave from his personal fortune to the Temple. He encouraged others to follow his example, and they willingly did. Both the Tabernacle and the Temple were built from the voluntary gifts of the people. Like David, we can acknowledge that all we have comes from God. We may not have David’s wealth, but we can develop his willingness to give. It is not what we have that counts with God, but our willingness to give it. (NLT)
1 Chronicles 29:3-5 – And now because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving all of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple. I am donating more than 112 tons of gold from Ophir and over 262 tons of refined silver to be used for overlaying the walls of the buildings and for the other gold and silver work to be done by the craftsmen. Now then, who will follow my example? Who is willing to give offerings to the Lord today?”
* – The Christians in the Corinthian church had money and apparently they had planned to collect money for the Jerusalem church a year previously. Paul challenges them to act on their plans. Four principles of giving emerge here: (1) Your willingness to give enthusiastically is more important than the amount you give; (2) you should strive to fulfill your financial commitments; (3) if you give to others in need, they will, in turn, help you when you are in need; (4) you should give as a response to Christ, not for anything you can get out of it. How you give reflects your devotion to Christ. (NLT)
2 Corinthians 8:10-15 – I suggest that you finish what you started a year ago, for you were the first to propose this idea, and you were the first to begin doing something about it. Now you should carry this project through to completion just as enthusiastically as you began it. Give whatever you can according to what you have. If you are really eager to give, it isn’t important how much you are able to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean you should give so much that you suffer from having too little, I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone’s needs will be met. Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.”
* Willingness to learn
Some people have an amazing natural talent for public speaking. Some even have a great message to go along with it. When Apollos arrived in Ephesus shortly after Paul’s departure, he made an immediate impact. He spoke boldly in public, interpreting and applying the Old Testament Scriptures effectively. He debated opponents of Christianity forcefully and effectively. It didn’t take long for him to be noticed by Priscilla and Aquila.
The couple quickly realized that Apollos did not have the whole story. His preaching was based on the Old Testament and John the Baptist’s message. He was probably urging people to repent and prepare for the coming Messiah. Priscilla and Aquila took him home with them and brought him up to date on all that had happened. As they told him of the life of Jesus, his death and resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, Apollos must have seen Scripture after Scripture become clear. He was filled with new energy and boldness now that he knew the complete gospel.
Apollos next decided to travel to Achaia. His friends in Ephesus were able to send along a glowing letter of introduction. He quickly became the verbal champion of the Christians in Corinth, debating the opponents of the gospel in public. As often happens, Apollos’s abilities eventually created a problem. Some of the Corinthians began to follow Apollos rather than his message. Paul had to confront the Corinthians about their divisiveness. They had been forming little groups named after their favorite preacher. Apollos left Corinth and hesitated to return. Paul wrote warmly of Apollos as a fellow minister who had “watered” the seeds of the gospel that Paul had planted in Corinth. Paul last mentions Apollos briefly to Titus. Apollos was still a traveling representative of the gospel who deserved Titus’s help.
Although his natural abilities could have made him proud, Apollos proved himself willing to learn. God used Priscilla and Aquila, fresh from months of learning from Paul, to give Apollos the complete gospel. Because Apollos did not hesitate to be a student, he became an even better teacher. How much does your willingness to learn affect God’s efforts to help you become all he wants you to be? (NLT)
Acts 18:25-26 – He had been taught the way of the Lord and talked to others with great enthusiasm and accuracy about Jesus. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God more accurately.
* Willingness to believe
Jesus’ words show that the way to eternal life, though unseen, is secure—as secure as your trust in Jesus. He has already prepared the way to eternal life. The only issue that may still be unsettled is your willingness to believe. (NLT)
John 14:1-3 – [Jesus said] “Don’t’ be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
* The day-to-day choices we make are important
From her [Bathsheba] life we see that the little, day-to-day choices we make are very important. They prepare us to make the right choices when the big decisions come. The wisdom to make right choices in small and large matters is a gift from God. Understanding this should make us more conscious of the decisions we make and the willingness to include God in our decision making. Have you asked for his help with today’s decisions? (NLT)
2 Samuel 11:26-27 – When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was very displeased with what David had done.
* Be open to their willingness
We all have areas where temptation is strong and habits are hard to conquer. These weaknesses give the Devil a foothold, so we must deal with our areas of vulnerability. If we are struggling with a particular sin, however, these verses are not directed at us, even if for the time we seem to keep on sinning. John is not talking about people whose victorious are still incomplete; he is talking about people who make a practice of sinning and look for ways to justify it.
Three steps are necessary to find victory over prevailing sin: (1) Seek the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word; (2) stay away from tempting situations; and (3) seek the help of the body of Christ–be open to their willingness to hold you accountable and to pray for you. (NLT)
1 John 3:8-9– But when people keep on sinning it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not sink, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning because they have been born of God.
* Willingness to obey
From the hundreds of people who followed him from place to place, Jesus chose 12 to be his apostles. Apostle means “messenger or authorized representative.” He did not choose these 12 to be his associates and companions because of their faith; their faith often faltered. He didn’t choose them because of their talent and ability; no one stood out with unusual ability. The disciples represented a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences, but apparently they had no more leadership potential than those who were not chosen. The one characteristic they all shared was their willingness to obey Jesus. After Jesus’ ascension, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to carry out special roles in the growth of the early church. We should not disqualify ourselves from service to Christ because we do not have the expected credentials. Being a good disciple is simply a matter of following Jesus with a willing heart. (NLT)
Mark 3:14 – Then he selected twelve of them to be his regular companions, calling then apostles. He sent them out to preach. . .
* Willingness to serve
Paul humbly calls himself Jesus Christ’s slave and an apostle (“one who is sent”). For a Roman citizen–which Paul was–to choose to be a slave was unthinkable. But Paul chose to be completely dependent on and obedient to his beloved Master. What is your attitude toward Christ, your Master? Our willingness to serve and obey Jesus Christ enables us to be useful and usable servants to do work for him–work that really matters. (NLT)
Romans 1:1 – This letter is from Paul, Jesus Christ’s slave, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.
* Willingness to let God work in your life
Sarai took matters into her own hands by giving Hagar to Abram. Like Abram she had trouble believing God’s promise that was apparently directed specifically toward Abram and Sarai. Out of this lack of faith came a series of problems. This invariably happens when we take over for God, trying to make his promise come true through efforts that are not in line with his specific directions. In this case, time was the greatest test of Abram and Sarai’s willingness to let God work in their lives. Sometimes we too must simply wait. When we ask God for something and have to wait, it is a temptation to take matters into our own hands and interfere with God’s plans. (NLT)
Genesis 16:3 – So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram first arrived in the land of Canaan.)
* God’s provision as large as your faith and willingness
The woman and her sons collected jars from their neighbors, pouring olive oil into them from their one flask. The olive oil was used for cooking, for lamps, and for fuel. The oil stopped flowing only when they ran out of containers. The number of jars they gathered was an indication of their faith. God’s provision was as large as their faith and willingness to obey. Beware of limiting God’s blessings by a lack of faith and obedience. God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (NLT)
2 Kings 4:6 – Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing.
* Willingness to follow
Why did God give Joshua all these complicated instructions for the battle? Several answers are possible: (1) God was making it undeniably clear that the battle would depend upon him, and not upon Israel’s weapons and expertise. This is why priests carrying the Ark, not soldiers, led the Israelites into battle. (2) God’s method of taking the city accentuated the terror already felt in Jericho. (3) This strange military maneuver was a test of the Israelites’ faith and their willingness to follow God completely. The blowing of the trumpets had a special significance. They had been instructed to blow the same trumpets used in the religious festivals in their battles to remind them that their victory would come from the Lord, not their own military might. Horns used by Joshua to flatten the walls of Jericho. (NLT)
Joshua 6:3-5 – Your entire army is to march around the city once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the horns, have all the people give a mighty shout. Then the walls of the city will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the city.”
* Willingness to put peace above personal desires
Facing a potential conflict with his nephew Lot, Abram took the initiative in settling the dispute. He gave Lot first choice, even though Abram, being older, had the right to choose first. Abram also showed a willingness to risk being cheated. Abram’s example shows us how to respond to difficult family situations: (1) Take the initiative in resolving conflicts; (2) let others have first choice, even if that means not getting what we want; (3) put family peace above personal desires. (NLT)
Genesis 13:5-9 – Now Lot, who was traveling with Abram, was also very wealthy with sheep, cattle, and many tents. But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. There were too many animals for the available pastureland. So an argument broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.
Then Abram talked it over with Lot. “This arguing between our herdsmen has got to stop,” he said. “After all, we are close relatives! I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want that area over there, then I’ll stay here. If you want to stay in this area, then I’ll move on to another place.”
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