Summary: David gives us the example of sacrificial giving when he made plans to build the Temple.
Building on Faith:
The Vision and The Gift
King David of Israel casts a long shadow as a pivotal person of human history. A man of passion, bright victory and bitter failure, he reminds us across 3,000 years of the influence of leadership and sacrifice in a cause of worth. At a crucial moment in the history of God’s people, David came forward to make a sacrificial gift that led many others to do the same. He too was one who stumbled, fell, rose up, dreamed, built, and triumphed.
There are always those timid souls who wait for just the right moment before taking the step of sacrifice. The temperature of circumstance must be at just the right degree, the humidity of the moment at the perfect percentage, and the barometric pressure of the challenge at precisely the appropriate millibar. If all is well, such bland leaders of the bland will move forward.
Then there are those heroic souls who recognize the significance of the moment, the window of opportunity, and then the undeniable, unrepeatable challenge before them. They do not wait for perfection; in sacrifice they prefer action.
Before our congregation in these days just such a moment shimmers in the transient morning of our opportunity. We all know the challenge that is before us. A door of unrepeatable opportunity for this church opens before us. In the next two weeks we will each be called upon to make sacrifices. The call of the moment does not beckon us to equal gifts but to equal sacrifice.
Years ago Michelangelo found inside a marble block the famous statue of David. Let’s look into this text and see if we can discover the lessons David would teach us as we prepare to seize this opportunity.
First, we must envision building for God’s work. When King David had conquered his enemies, secured his borders, and brought prosperity to his people, his eager mind turned to building the house of God. The very Hebrew word dawid suggests someone who seethes or boils with passion. There was nothing half-hearted about David. Everything he did, he did with passion, and he was passionate about God. By the providence of God, David could not build the temple as a man of war. That mantle fell on his son Solomon. Yet David had the vision to make a provision for the temple of God.
Behind every vision lies a motive, though, and David’s motive was pure: “…for the Temple he will build is not just another building—it is for the Lord God himself” (1 Chronicles 29:1). When the call is made for sacrifice, the motive for the driving vision should be pure. Had the temple been a monument to David or merely an architectural reflection of Hebrew culture, the motive would have been unworthy. Egypt had its pyramids, Babylon its Hanging Garden and Athens its Parthenon. Had the goal of David been merely another monument, the cost would have been too extravagant. The motive was pure. What was sacrificed was to be given “for the Lord God himself.” The mighty, sacrificial offering of David belonged to God alone.
How do we weigh the motive of sacrifice for the challenge before our church? It is not to honor an individual or group of individuals. Nor does the challenge before us call for a sacrifice to make a statement about our church culturally, socially, or economically. There is only one appropriate motive for the sacrificial giving required of us in this hour: the worship of God. We give that the name of God be honored, the word of God be taught, and by God’s grace, the church of God be built. As we approach the days of sacrifice before us, let that pure vision sustain each of us.