Paying the Price

 by Roy W. Lowrie, Jr., Ed.D. (1981)

A Keynote to the Christian School Teacher

Christian school teaching is an effective ministry, a good work. It is a worthwhile expenditure of energy, in fact, of life. The teacher fulfills his presenting of himself to God in terms of Romans 12:1, 2, through his daily work in the classroom.

Make no mistake, let it be clear: There is a price to be paid. If a teacher is going to give his life to this work, the price will not only reach him, it will reach his spouse and his children. There will be numerous times when the pressures to leave the Christian school ministry are intense. But we have put our hand to this plow and we must not turn back.

Although there is a price, God is with us. When we do His will our spouses and our children will not suffer. Our Father is not like that. In fact, our children are encouraged to serve God themselves, for they are experiencing the provision of God for them as they are growing up in a Christian school teacher’s home. We need to encourage our children as David did his son Solomon when he said, “And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever.” I Chronicles 28:9.

David also stands as an example to us of a man who was willing to pay the price in order to do God’s will. A clear example of his attitude is given in II Samuel 24. He had sinned against the Lord by numbering the valiant men that drew the sword in both Israel and Judah. God judged him by killing 70,000 men from Dan even to Beer-sheba. This shattered David and he spoke to the angel of the Lord who smote the men and asked that his hand be upon David and upon his father’s house, for he was the sinner in the matter since God had clearly said not to number the men.

The same day the prophet, Gad, came to David with a message from the Lord. He instructed David to go up and rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. Araunah saw the king and his entourage coming. He went out, bowed on his face upon the ground, and asked David what he wanted. David replied that he wanted to buy Araunah’s threshingfloor and build an altar to the Lord so that the plague against the people would stop. Araunah responded by saying that he would give David whatever he wanted, including oxen for burnt sacrifice and threshing instruments and other instruments for wood. The Bible says that all these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king, saying, “The Lord thy God accept thee.”

At this point the attitude of David, who was the man after God’s own heart and the sweet psalmist of Israel, comes through as an example to us. He responded to the gracious offer of Araunah by saying, “Nay, but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt-offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. He paid the price. He built the altar unto the Lord, offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and the Lord was entreated for the land. The plague was stayed from Israel.

This same incident is recorded in I Chronicles 21. This passage brings out the fact that David also bought the whole piece of ground on which the threshingfloor was built for six hundred shekels of gold, in addition to the fifty shekels of silver for the floor and for the oxen recorded in II Samuel 24.

The account in Chronicles is more complete. This is particularly significant when examining David’s response to Araunah when he wanted to give everything to David. Not only did David say that he would buy everything, twice in the Chronicles text it is recorded that David said he would pay the full price, not just a price, the full price. For example, David said in I Chronicles 21:24, “Nay, but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt-offerings without cost.”

David paid the price. David paid the full price. David would not accept the gift of something belonging to another person to give that to God. David wanted it to cost him personally when he gave something to the Lord.

The sequel to this incident is beautiful. King David died and Solomon his son reigned in his stead. Prior to his death, David charged Solomon to build the temple of the Lord. Solomon took that to heart and began to build the temple. Here is the wondrous sequel: Solomon built the temple on the very ground which David had bought from Araunah in the incident just discussed. The Scriptures say in II Chronicles 3:1, “Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.”

In the place where a father was willing to pay the full price for an offering to God, years later his son built a temple to God. God continues to do that today. In a Christian school where a teacher is willing to pay the full price, pouring out his very life a day at a time, God builds temples in the lives of his students.

This does not happen without paying the price in full.

“Lord, help me to pay the full price for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

 

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