Thanks, But No Thanks


Ezra 4:1-5,24

Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do (v.2).

A Christian school for autistic children received a donation from a corporation. After making sure that there were no strings attached, the school accepted the money. Later, the corporation requested to have representation on the school’s board of directors. The head of the school returned the money. She refused to mix school governance with secular values. She said, “It’s more important to do God’s work in God’s way.”

When the exiled Jews returned to Jerusalem, King Cyrus commissioned them to rebuild the temple. Solomon’s glorious edifice was in ruins. Would they be able to restore it to its former glory? Any form of help was welcome, right? Apparently not.

When their neighbors said, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do” (Ezra 4:2), Zerubbabel declined. He realized that the neighboring people’s “commitment” to God didn’t include a commitment to fully obey Him. They were advocating a “melting pot” religion that combined pagan and Jewish ideas and practices.

The fact that these neighbors didn’t have a sincere interest in helping the Jews became obvious very quickly (vv.4-5). They vehemently opposed the temple reconstruction for many years.

Bible scholar Walter Kaiser wrote: “Discouragement took its toll; and the whole project came to a complete stop for 16 long years. . . . So it would have remained had not God graciously sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah” (4:24, 5:1).

Today, the school mentioned above might have to close down if it doesn’t acquire additional funding. I wonder how many good Christian ministries are in a similar plight. On a brochure of another charitable organization, I recently read: “Whether your donation is big or small, one thing is certain . . . to the desperate boy or girl . . . your gift means the world.”

—Poh Fang Chia


Read 2 Corinthians 9:9-13 to see the good things that can happen when believers give generously to help one another.


How has God blessed you financially? In what ways could you bless others with what He’s given you?


MercyMe - I Can Only Imagine (LIVE) from mercymemusic on GodTube.