1 Chronicles 29:1-20
In the 21st century, standing in the wake of massive stone churches, Crystal Cathedrals, million dollar dog houses, and more church building campaigns than one would care to remember, it is difficult to read a passage about giving to a construction project without a bit of jadedness. Yet, here it is. There are no two ways around this passage. David is standing in front of the nation and saying,”Look guys, I gave everything I own to the Temple building project. How much are you going to give?” In response to David’s invitation the people stepped up to the plate and poured out gold, silver, bronze, and jewels so that the Temple of God could be magnificent.
Here are a few thoughts:
We must always be careful to not become prideful or judgmental if our decision is to not center our worship or community on a physical space. God blessed the construction of the Temple. He was proud to place His name there and let His presence be represented by the ark of the covenant. It is true that He had no problem abandoning the building when the hearts of the people strayed from Him. It is also true that, later on, the first churches in Acts had no need for a building. Yet, that does not mean that having a building is wrong or evil. Just like any good thing, a building can become a physical distraction from a true relationship with God, but, used properly it can also bring great honor to Him as well.
Probably the greatest trap of our culture is the concept of personal possessions. We believe that we have the right to carve out a piece of land and say “mine.” We believe that if we work hard then we have earned our gold, that it belongs to us, and that we have the right to do with our money anything that we choose to do. Mine, mine, mine! This passage reminds us that nothing belongs to us. Everything belongs to God. He has given it to us out of His grace, not our merit. God gives us physical resources for two reasons. The first is to provide for our basic needs of food and shelter. The second is to teach us about stewardship. As a Christian, one of the paths of spiritual maturity is to move from the idea of ownership to stewardship. A steward is a servant who has been put in charge of his master’s physical resources. The master trusts him and expects him to take good care of those resources and to bring about an increase through good management of those resources. Everything comes from God, belongs to God, and is to be used to bring glory to His name.
You cannot pay God off. Many times people think that if they give a lot of money to charity then they can say that they are a good person and not have to deal with the real issues of the heart. God doesn’t need your money, because, remember, it’s not your money anyway. God wants your heart. He wants you to be authentically in love with Him and focused on His kingdom and not your own. The truth is that giving money to the work of God’s Kingdom will not in any way affect your relationship with God, but a person who has a real relationship with God will, without hesitation, give back generously to the master who has given to him. It’s called the overflow of a transformed heart.
Where is your heart today? Are you fearfully holding on to your gold? Or, have you surrendered your notion of ownership and become a steward of God’s resources? Imagine what could happen if every Christian in the world gave with the same spirit as David’s people did in this passage.