Check your bank account. Nothing in it, right? What do you mean? I have my savings. Your savings? King David teaches one of the most important lessons in the Bible today as he reveals the source of our wealth and what it means to give. And it’s not what you think.
3 Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God.
5 Now, who is willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord today?”
6 Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. 7 They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents of iron. 8 Anyone who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the Lord in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.
10 David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
“Praise be to you, Lord,
the God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
1Chronicles 29:3, 5-14
In times of great giving, there might be a tendency to focus on the generosity of the givers. When people get around project financially, the doors fly open and progress thrives! I’ve seen it and you’ve seen it, and it’s not a biblical view of how giving works or how projects move forward in the family of God. David gets it way-right here in his dealing with temple fundraising.
First of all, David is willing to give personally. It always helps when the leader is a participant in the program. David gave out of the royal treasure and had things made for the construction of the temple, yet he went further and made it personal. David dipped into his personal treasure and gave to the project. It might be difficult for a King to give sacrificially, because David’s wealth is so enormous. David’s heart, however, was sacrificial.
Based on David’s example, the people of Israel also gave. And gave. And gave. Thousands of pounds of gold and silver. And most of those people did not have the King’s riches. Most were Joe-average givers. With big hearts.
David was amazed, and the best part of the entire story is David’s response to God. When people give to God’s work and his will, the focus of praise and celebration should be God. Not the people. And David’s focus was all on God!
David proclaimed that all the greatness and power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor are God’s. Everything, David said, is God’s. Furthermore, David declared that all wealth and honor come from God, which changes, fundamentally, the way we view our stuff.
We can oh-so-easily get to believing that we are making a decision about what we are going to give out of our bank account.
David sets us straight: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
If that’s not our attitude when we come to give to God, we have a screwed up idea of who owns what. It all comes from God, and we give back to him.
God, impress upon our hearts today how we can use the things you have provided to offer back gifts of thanksgiving and praise in pursuit of your kingdom on earth!