One of the essential traits of a wholehearted follower of Jesus is to give sacrificially and generously to the Lord. Have you ever let your giving to God slip so that you are not giving of your finances to the Lord? Today Hezekiah teaches us that giving is core to our faith…
3 The king contributed from his own possessions for the morning and evening burnt offerings and for the burnt offerings on the Sabbaths, at the New Moons and at the appointed festivals as written in the Law of the Lord. 4 He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion due the priests and Levites so they could devote themselves to the Law of the Lord.
5 As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, olive oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. 6 The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah also brought a tithe of their herds and flocks and a tithe of the holy things dedicated to the Lord their God, and they piled them in heaps.
7 They began doing this in the third month and finished in the seventh month. 8 When Hezekiah and his officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the Lord and blessed his people Israel.
King Hezekiah did “what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered,” (2Chronicles 31:20-21). I would like to please God in this way and I would also to prosper. How about you?
One of the essential traits of a wholehearted follower of Jesus is to give sacrificially and generously to the Lord. We see this in the life of Hezekiah and of Israel in today’s story, in which Hezekiah orders the tithe be re-instituted so the people “could devote themselves to the Law of the Lord.”
As part of their revival as the people of God, they needed to restore their offerings. Somehow they had let their giving to God slip and they were not giving of their own finances and resources to the Lord. Has this ever happened to you?
Sometimes, as our finances ebb and flow with jobs (or hours), expenses, unexpected bills, and other things which drain our back accounts, we cut corners in giving. Sometimes we keep giving a little, thinking that our consciences will be left intact, God satisfied, and our books balanced.
That’s not balance. It’s not pleasing to God. And we are fooling ourselves.
Hezekiah knew that obeying God in giving is essential to wholehearted devotion to God.
How much, man? How much will this cost me? What’s the church’s cash-grab worth these days? Well, first of all, if those questions resonate with you, then you are probably farther gone than you think. Here are some essentials to giving from wholehearted devotion:
It’s a heart thing. If your heart is against giving or leading you to resent me for challenging you on this, you should resolve that before you put a dime in the offering plate. If you give in your current state, you will be giving lip service, while your heart is far from God (Isaiah 29:13).
It’s a God thing. If you aren’t willing to listen to the Holy Spirit, who will tell you what to give, there is a good chance your giving will be governed by your brain and not your heart. I think one of the greatest examples of giving in the Bible is the Macedonian church, who (2Corinthians 8:5), gave themselves first to God, and then by God’s will, gave themselves to the movement of God. What is God’s will for you to give? Ask him.
It’s a sacrificial faith thing. If your giving leaves you not feeling it in your wallet (i.e. you are skimming off the top or giving what is left after your needs are met) then you are missing out on the promise, blessing, and abundance of God in your life. God promises to take care of us (Matthew 6:33). We need to give in such a way that we are relying on his promise, otherwise we will continue to rely on ourselves.
It’s a cheerful thing. If your heart is full of joy as you give to God and his work, full speed ahead. Your joy will be a bow on the top of your gift to God, showing that your heart is right, you are surrendered to the Holy Spirit, and your trust is in God to provide for you. God loves a cheerful giver (2Corinthians 9:7).
Work this out. Your wholehearted devotion as a follower of Jesus depends on it.