May022020
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Pastor’s Update 8 – COVID-19

Vol 1. No. 8. May 1, 2020

In this edition:

Pastor S Matthias Esson

Pastor of Greenwich and Sydenham SDA Churches
One Church in Two Locations

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Proverbs 30:7-9
New International Version (NIV)
7Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.

Topic: A Novel Model of Prayer for Christians During the Covid Season and Beyond.

Take a look at this picture. What you think? Should hoarders be allowed to return their excesses?

Now with that picture in mind lets go to Proverbs 30:7-9

Here we find the record of the prayer of Agur the Son of Jakeh

Who was Agur?

  • This is the only mention of him in scripture
  • Unlike Melchizedek he had a father whose name was Jakeh
  • Like Solomon, Agur was a man of wisdom. Proverbs 30 is a collection of the wisdom of Agur
  • Proverbs 30:7-9 Indicates Agur was a man of prayer
  • And, like Jabez [1Chron 4:10], and the Publican [Luke 18:13], his prayer was short and to the point. Some of the most effective and more speedily answered prayers in scripture were short and to the point. Another example, Luke 23:42,43.

Let’s look a bit more closely at the prayer of Agur.

One could describe it as a request, time-bounded prayer.

Agur made two requests that were time-bounded. He wanted these two requests granted before he died

It is a prayer…

1]. … requesting personal integrity in words and actions

2]. …. requesting “Just enough.”

Discussion

  1. A Prayer for personal integrity in words and action.

Verse 8 [kjv] “Remove from me vanity and lies.” The NKJV says “falsehood and lies”

What was this request really about? The removal of vanity/falsehood and lies.

In the `Hebrew the words are shav’ and dabar

Shav’ – [H7723] means, emptiness, falsehood, worthlessness – conduct and word i.e. lying.

Dabar – [1697] means speech, word, things, or saying.

Essonian Translation – putting the two words together here is the essence of Agur’s prayer. Remove from me these things [dabar], emptiness or worthless conduct and speech [shav’]

In other words, one of Agur’s life ambition is that his life would not be characterised by vain worthless conduct or speech.

The prayer in essence was, Lord help me to watch my words and my behaviour so that in neither do I profane, blaspheme or dishonour your name.

  1. A prayer for “Just enough.”

Lord give me neither plenty nor poverty. In other words, Lord, give me just enough.

Agur, a man of wisdom, understood the risk of prosperity and of poverty. He wanted to avoid either traps.

  • ‘Too much,’ risked his acknowledgment of the source of his resources
  • ‘Too little,’ risked him stealing or doing other unethical things to survive.

So, he prayed, give me neither poverty nor riches: Just feed me with my allotted portion. And by such I will be kept from two evils; 1] denying my Lord as my Jehovah Jireh and 2], stealing to survive. Any of these two is a profanity to the name of God and the one thing Agur did not want was a life of profaning, blaspheming or dishonouring the name of God.

Back to the Picture Shown at the Beginning – downloaded from facebook. Have another look. What did you think?

  • What did John Public think?

Samantha Lock [19 MARCH 2020] Coronavirus – Costco is refusing returns on toilet paper as others ARRESTED for inflating prices reported.

Many have agreed with the recent change in policy.

One woman replied: “Good now all the selfish people that hoarded the toilet paper, hand sanitizer and cleaning products can keep it all. Serves them right for hoarding it all without any consideration to elderly or families with kids.”

“So happy Costco is making this move!”

 the Costco Insider account wrote. “Good! Hoarders are stuck with it,” another commenter replied.

 And one woman commended the store, saying: “Way to go Costco … other stores should follow this practice. Hopefully Amazon and Ebay will not allow people selling items at outrageous prices.”

I wonder, just wonder, what would your answer be? I asked my parishioners for their responses last Wednesday night in prayer meeting; and many agreed that the hoarders should not be allowed to return the goods. Some suggested that Costco should either take it back without refund and then give it to the needy.

Me! Glad you asked. My first thought was – yes. Costco should take it back and refund only half the price.

But then I wondered, what would Agur’s response to Costco’s policy be in relationship to these mindless, senseless, selfish, hoarders?

Summary of Agur’s Prayer

  1. Keep my words and actions sane and sanitised
  2. Give me just enough to keep me from profaning the name of my Lord

What a prayer. How might his be a novel prayer during the covid season and beyond?

Proverbs 30:7-9 The Message (MSG)

7-9 And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things before I die; don’t refuse me—
Banish lies from my lips and liars from my presence.

Give me enough food to live on,
    neither too much nor too little.
If I’m too full, I might get independent,
    saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’
If I’m poor, I might steal
    and dishonor the name of my God.”

Conclusion

May the prayer of Agur be a novel life-model for all of God’s children during this covid-season and beyond.


[1] https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11213750/coronavirus-costco-is-refusing-returns-on-toilet-paper-as-others-arrested-for-inflating-prices/ – Downloaded May 1, 2020.

And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things before I die; don’t refuse me—
Banish lies from my lips and liars from my presence.

Give me enough food to live on,
    neither too much nor too little.
If I’m too full, I might get independent,
    saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’
If I’m poor, I might steal
    and dishonor the name of my God.”

Tithes and Offerings during the Pandemic

Give Your Tithes and Offerings
By Bank Transfer to:

A. Greenwich SDA Church

Bank: HSBC
Sort Code: 40-04-15
Acc. Number: 8203 5529

  • Please state whether tithes or offering in the reference
  • Please make separate transfers for Tithe & Local Offerings

B. Seventh Day Adventist Sydenham

Bank: HSBC
Sort Code: 40-02-05
Acc. Number: 7119 7789

  • Kindly include your name as reference
  • Please make separate transfers for Tithe & Local Offerings

Be Very Sure

Merciful Father we pray for all NHS staff and medical researchers. Give them skill, patience and resilience in their caring for the sick. Grant your wisdom to those searching for a cure. May the breakthrough be swift.

We pray with thanksgiving in name of Jesus Christ, who Himself suffered alone on the cross, but who, now reigns with you in glory, and has promised to come again to effect the full and final restoration of our planet, removing sin, sickness, disease and death.

O Lord ready us for this coming time of victory – Amen.

Stay at home save lives

Emergency Contacts

if you need extra assistance, you can also drop us a line and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

Pastor S Matthias Esson

Pastor
Greenwich Seventh-Day Adventist Church
07985 408 669

Elder Clive Richardson

First Elder
Greenwich Seventh-Day Adventist Church
07903 134 970

Elder Josiah Oyelakin

First Elder
Sydenham Seventh-Day Adventist Church
07828 941 130