Summary: What purposes does God work out in our lives when we give financially to support His work?
1 Chronicles 29 tells the story of how David and the people of Israel took up an offering for the construction of the temple which David was told by
God would be built by his son and successor, Solomon. It is a beautiful story of what happens when Gods people give generously to God’s work.
I once heard of a minister who announced to his congregation on Sunday morning, "Folks, I have here In my hands three sermons - a $100 sermon that lasts five minutes, a $50 sermon that lasts fifteen minutes, and a $10 sermon that lasts a full hour. Now, we are going to take the offering and see which one I will deliver this morning."
The story found here in 1 Chronicles 29 isn’t one where the people were blackmailed into giving generously. Instead, it is an illustration of that which Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV) "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." The people here gave cheerfully and generously, and Paul says that God loves it when that happens!
David celebrated the purposes that God was working out through the generosity of His people. What purposes are carried out when God’s people give as he directs?
1. We Are Humbled - vs. 14-19
The people of God who give generously to God’s work develop a spirit of humility. Why? Because . . .
A. Giving reminds us that God is the source of all things - vs. 14;16
David readily acknowledged that what the people had been able to give on this occasion was not due to themselves, but to the provision of God. In the same way, you and I need to recognize that God is the source of all things, so when I give to His work (for example, when I give my tithe), I am not really allowing God to have 10%, He is allowing me to have 90%! Actually He gives me 100% and then trusts me to do what is right in the stewardship of all He blesses me with! Therefore, I must seek to always remember that all that I am, all that I have, and all I hope to be, I owe to God!
B. Giving reminds us of the temporary nature of this life - v. 15
David understood what James expressed in James 4:14:
"What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor
(a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then
disappears [into thin air]." - James 4:14 (Amplified)
When Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, her former husband, Joe DiMaggio ordered a black vase filled with fresh roses to be set on her crypt twice a week forever. The roses arrived promptly each week until 1971, when "forever" must have ended.
Despite our best intentions, nothing of this world will last forever, except those things which have been invested in the work of God. That which is invested in the work of God will always reap ETERNAL dividends!
C. Giving reminds us that our ultimate accountability is to God - v. 17-19
David realized that God is not so much interested in the amount we give as he is in the attitude with which we give.
He also realized that while one cannot be truly devoted to God without giving of themselves to God’s work; it is possible for one to give to God’s work without being truly devoted to God!
Jesus spoke of these kinds of people in Matthew 6:1:
"Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." - Matthew 6:1 (NIV)
The fact is that when we stand before the throne to have determined what our reward will be in eternity, it will not be our fellow men who will be seated upon the throne - it will only be us and God! He is the One to whom we will answer! This is only fitting, since He has invested so much in us. Realizing all God has invested in us and our ultimate accountability to Him, we should humbly give of ourselves, not with the idea of what others might think of us, but with the idea of honoring the One who has given us so much!
Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 about the churches in Macedonia, who serve as examples to us all of how to give to God’s work.
"Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could--far more than they could afford!- pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.