Some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site. According to their ability they gave to the treasury of the work 61,000 darics1 of gold, 5,000 minas of silver, and 100 priests’ garments.

Ezra 2:68-69 ESV

Jerusalem had laid in ruins for about 70 years.

The Persian King Cyrus the Great had defeated Babylon, and was sending Israelites home after being exiles for a generation.

Cyrus explicitly sent them back to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:2). The Babylonians had destroyed and plundered it.

Along with this sending, Cyrus also commanded the Israelites’ surrounding neighbors to chip in on the expenses (Ezra 1:4).

It’s amazing to see how God truly moves the hearts of world leaders to accomplish his will.

But today’s verses teach us even more about how God gets his work done: leaders giving first.

Even though Cyrus told neighboring cities, regions, and tribes to help fund the Temple’s reconstruction, Israel’s leaders “made freewill offerings.”

This means they gave money without being asked. Rather than showing up and expecting everyone else to pay their way, they put skin in the game.

Why Does it Matter?

Why does it matter if they gave financially or not? Because it shows us they truly believed in what they were doing.

Where we invest our money shows us what we value. Click To Tweet

Leaders don’t tell others what to do, they invite others to join them in what they’re doing.

What’s wonderful is that they gave “according to their ability.” It’s not about how much you give, it’s that you give as you’re able.

So ministry leaders, whether $10 or $10,000, are you investing financially in the work you’re asking others to fund?


Today’s devotion by Jordan Loftis, bestselling author of Today We Win, host of The Bible Better Podcast, and editor of Short Daily Devotions.