Today's reading initially struck me as a little, well, boring. It seems like a passage largely concerned with the administration of building repair and finances. But, after reading it in a couple of different versions and comparing a few Bible commentaries, I think it's a great example of some practical guidance from the Bible, which is just as relevant today.
The reading introduces us to King Joash – he reigned as King for 40 years, and indicated that generally he was a good King, and “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”. He also underwent a partial change to the places of worship – but the “high places” were not removed (likely as people were so attached to these, that it would have been far too difficult).
Joash then asks priests to take the income from the temple of the Lord and use it to repair the damage to the temple. In Joash's 23rd year as king, the priests hadn't fixed the damages to the temple, so he decides to take the projects out of the priests' hands; instead, the priests are asked just to save all of the money in large chests, and when full, the scribes and high priests came to count and collect it, and pay it directly to craftsmen to get the work done. It's also made clear that the work should only cover restoration essentials – not to be spent on expensive ornamental items.
With this new arrangement, the repair are completed. In verse 16, we also see that the priests were still able to take money from guilt and sin offerings for themselves – they weren't punished and denied what was rightfully theirs.
We later see Joash's reign begins to decline; King Hazael of Syria wants to invade, so instead of trusting in the Lord, he breaks down many sacred objects setup by him and his predecessors', and gives them to Hazael to get him to withdraw. We later read that little else was recorded about Joash, although his officials conspired against him and assassinated him.
So what can we take away from all of this? Don't give money to priests! Ok, no, that's not it – this has some good lessons about managing money (although you could probably apply it to other areas, not just financial).
We read that King Joash had great intentions, had people in place to receive the money and had sufficient funds to achieve what was need – but nothing happened. Later, with some planning and organisation, (by King Joash and Priest Jehoiada) the money was taken to where it needed to go and was used to do what it needed to do. They were also able to source respectable and hard working tradesmen, had a full idea of where the funds came from and how they were being used, and were still able to allow the priests to take their usual income.
This teaches us that we need to be proactive and wise with our use of resources. God doesn't want us to just throw money at a problem and wait; instead He wants us to invest our time and effort into important matters, to plan accordingly, to look to Him for wisdom and to use the intelligent brains He's given every one of us.
I love how God has used a seemingly boring passage to show us a great lesson – If we plan our finances, look to God for wisdom and do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, He will bless us and help us on our endeavours, just like King Joash.