in the Christian Library
AMASIAH: Willing Service, Eternal Glory!
2 Chronicles 17
1. William of Wickham was appointed by King Edward III to build a stately church building. The construction was a great success and won Wickham fame and favor. The architect wrote on one of the windows, “This work make William Wickham.” Afterwards the King charged the builder with assuming too much honor in his work. Wickham explained that his words only meant to affirm that his work had made him known. He went on to explain that before the construction project he was poor but now he was in good credit; before he was unknown but now he was famous. Thus his work actually “made” him. In much the same way, the works which we perform today are the tests of what we truly are!
ASK – Why is one’s service that which often “makes” his/her reputation? What is there about the way we serve that opens up our hearts and allows others to look inside? Is “service” REALLY an important litmus test of one’s Christianity?
In 2 Chronicles 17:16 we are introduced to another man whose work has “made” him beloved and known by all who study the Scriptures. The context is discussing the reign of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. Jehoshaphat was very religious (2 Chron 17:3, 4). The blemish in Jehoshaphat’s tenure as King was his continued fellowship with those brethren who had forsaken God’s commands (cf 1 Ki 22). He instituted a system of public instruction of the Law so that all would know, understand, and obey God’s commands. The King established courts of justice throughout Judah. During Jehoshaphat’s reign a vast army was maintained to defend the nation.
In Jehoshaphat’s army there was a soldier who was distinctive; he stood out. His name was “Amasiah.” This is the only time in Scripture that he is mentioned. We know nothing further concerning him, his, family, or his future. However he leaves a lasting memory of one who was willing to offer himself to the Lord’s service. We do not know what he did to be remembered with such a striking epitaph, but what a marvelous compliment! Examine this singular reference to this personality of the Old Testament. Look at the valuable lessons we can discover regarding Christian service! A marvelous lesson on Christian service is revealed by asking a few simple questions.
2. WHAT did Amasiah do? He “offered himself.”
As Jehoshaphat was building Judah’s defensive infrastructure, he needed those of willing hearts; capable soldiers; devout patriots. He sought those who were committed to the cause. What kind of defensive network would the King have without such individuals? Amasiah realized this need; he understood his abilities; responded to the urgent need. Amasiah offered the best possible! He offered himself in service.
This attitude of self-surrender, self-sacrifice, self-realization is urgently needed today! We need members of the Lord’s Church to possess this mind-set of this ancient Judean warrior!
a. Cheerful, self-surrender is the secret of all service that pleases God!
b. Christianity was established by the spirit of self-sacrifice (Jn 10:17, 18). This same spirit is essential if the Lord’s Church is to exist today! Examine Matthew 19:27 and discuss how it urges Christians to self-sacrifice.
c. Unwillingness to surrender completely to the Lord’s will denotes a lack of conversion (Mk 8:34b; Ro 12:1; 1 Pt 2:5). When one becomes a Christian s/he is confessing the Lord’s sovereignty over all life, is submitting (by baptism) and surrendering personal will and wishes to the Lord. If one attends services and is baptized but has not completely surrendered by “crucifying” self’s priorities, then s/he IS NOT truly converted! (Lk 9:23-26).
d. Christ emphatically urges all to sacrifice Self and surrender to Him. See Luke 9:57-62, especially v. 59).
1) Is this request optional? What does it practically mean for Christians in every day activities? How does it relate to one’s desires to be in attendance at all services?
2) Too many Christians today lament the fact they are not finding “joy” in the Lord’s Church. They are not “fulfilled.” Why? Because they failed to do what Amasiah did – give all of Self to God!
3) There are some today who fail to enjoy Christianity because they hesitate to give a total sacrifice to God until their later years. They then look back at how they spent their energies and resources in youthful years and are filled with remorse. This is a sad thought BUT they should not allow Satan to steal away their joyful surrender to Christ! They have much to offer God and should begin where they are and serve as Amasiah did!
e. Amasiah offered himself unconditionally; no conditions. There is a tremendous need for such sacrifices today. Do you possess this attitude? Do you serve God with ALL your heart? Whose priorities do you pursue?
3. HOW did Amasiah do this? He surrendered himself “willingly.”
a. It is interesting to notice that this is the only captain in the King’s army given this compliment. We are not told why Amasiah is so complimented. Possibly he was a man of great skill and was desperately needed but he could have had greater success elsewhere. Possibly he came from a far district of Judah. Possibly the words enshrine some now forgotten memory of cheerful courage or some heroic feat on the battlefield. Whatever the reason, the words are a wonderful point to contemplate.
b. Amasiah’s willingness causes us to focus upon another critical element of proper service in the Lord’s Kingdom -- the DEGREE of our willingness!
1) The degree of Divine acceptance to our service/sacrifices is in direct proportion to the degree of willingness which motivates them! An unwilling act or sacrifice is immediately rejected. God is repulsed by those who are compelled by factors other than a willing heart. Study through Malachi 1:5-14 and observed God’s attitude toward those who are unlike Amasiah!
2) The citizens of God’s Kingdom are volunteers. They enter the Kingdom voluntarily. They enter the Lord’s Army voluntarily. A “willing heart” is the hallmark of God’s followers (cf Ps 110:3).
3) Is God pleased with your service? With your sacrifices? How can you be absolutely certain? By mimicking Amasiah! The degree of Divine acceptance is in proportion to the degree of willingness in your heart!
a) To do the right thing with biblical commands, cheerfulness, eagerness, and abounding joy is to receive the fullness of God’s acceptance, commendation, and reward.
b) Paul illustrates the blessings that arise when we offer voluntary service to our Lord God (cf Gal 2:20; Philip 3:7-9).
c) King Zedekiah illustrates the consequence of evil that arise from unwillingness (2 Chron 36:11-16).
4) A willing attitude is VERY important because . . . Unwillingness destroys the character of our offering and robs it of all sacredness (cf 2 Co 9:7; review Malachi 1:5ff). Reluctant Christianity is not true Christianity!
c. Amasiah WILLINGLY offered himself in service! This should provoke all Christians to do some “personal soul-searching.”
1) When announcements are made about needs, how responsive are you? When activities are announced, how readily do you volunteer to sign-up and volunteer? Look at your personal level of “willing service” and ask, “If every member was like I am, where would this congregation be?”
2) Let us decide that we will do as Amasiah did so that we will be known as he was – a willing servant! If nothing else is known about a person, it is wonderful to hear this commendation spoken, “Well whenever there was a need and something to do, s/he was ALWAYS there!”
4. WHY did he do it? Amasiah served “to the Lord.”
This phrase suggests that Amasiah was so willing because he possessed a sense of devotion to God. His primary aim in serving – not for personal accolades but because he knew it was the Lord’s business!
Amasiah reveals another important point that is often ignored when service is considered – all service offered to God is forever remembered! (Amos 8:7). Whatever is offered willingly and in accordance with the Scriptures is FOREVER remembered by God! Men may shrug off your service here. Some may think what you do is insignificant. You may do many acts of service that no one knows about. When your service is met with these responses it is easy to become discouraged and quit!
Have you ever considered how God prizes the “insignificant” deeds? Here are just a few . . .
a. How many “cups of cold water” have been given and thought to be insignificant and unnoticed? (Mt 10:42).
b. There have been many “alabaster boxes” that were given and the gift was met with scorn by men but smiles by God (Mk 14:8, 13).
c. The “widow’s mite” has often been viewed as insignificant but the Father in heaven sees it as a great treasure (Mk 12:42).
d. Whatever service you are able to offer to God is accepted as an “odor of a sweet smell” IF it comes from a willing heart that is committed to God’s will (cf 1 Pt 2:5; Philip 4:18; Col 3:23).
5. WHAT results will come because of willing service?
Amasiah’s example assures us that the following results will be very evident in our lives:
a. APPROVAL BY GOD
b. ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHERS
6. Learn these fantastic lessons from this amazing personality of the Old Testament. See John 4:34-36 and the emphasis the Lord has on the urgency of serving God!
a. The BEGINNING of serving God – Crucifying Self!
b. The ESSENCE of serving God – A Willing Desire!
c. The PRACTICE of serving God – A Daily Submission!
d. The RESULT of serving God – Divine Approval!
Copyright 1999 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no
cost to others.