Day 131: The cheerful giver (1 Chronicles 28-29)

Posted: August 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

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. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 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. We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. -1 Chronicles 29: 12-17

Isn’t it funny how God just brings certain points home again and again throughout a day in more than one outlet? It’s just obvious sometimes! Today was no exception.

In church this morning, the pastor talked about two different things that for me tonight, weaved themselves together into one lesson that applied directly to me. Only God can do that, folks. This morning before the sermon, he talked about a certain need that needed to be met in our offering time, a financial need that needed to be met then and there. Without giving us too many details, he asked the congregation to dedicate some of their offering to this need. Obviously, I wasn’t checking out everyone’s offerings, but I could tell that people dug extra deep this morning in meeting this need. I have no idea if the need was met (it really is none of my business if it was or wasn’t), but I have to believe God played a part in supplying the need at least partially.

The second thing pastor talked about was spiritual tests, the testing of our faith that proves that our faith is more than just Biblical knowledge, that it’s a faith in action, a faith that demonstrates itself by what we do, not just by what we say. As he put it, “a faith that can only be revealed in a transformed life.”

Both of these concepts weaved themselves together in front of me in tonight’s reading. At the end of 1 Chronicles, David is preparing the way for his son, Solomon, to take over as king and build the temple of the LORD. He has collected the supplies, the manpower, and even donated a huge amount of his personal wealth to building the temple, and in chapter 29, he asks his people to do the same, with a giving attitude. Right there in front of him, his people let the flood gates burst forth, and an abundance of material and wealth is spilled toward the temple. At the sight of this, David breaks down in praise and cheerfully offers up a prayer of thanks to God. What a powerful moment that must have been!

It’s an awesome lesson that is repeated in 2 Corinthians by Paul – Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

It’s interesting, I just talked about giving (and my struggle to do so sometimes) only two days ago on this Odyssey. I guess maybe God wasn’t through teaching me my lesson yet! It’s not about the amount given or even the status of the person giving it. It’s all about the attitude. The cheerful giver! Giving because we want to, not because we feel we have to. After all, it’s all God’s anyways! We are just returning a portion back to Him. It is so easy to get caught up in the “I have to have it” game, or believe that I have to hold on to every cent that I can to keep myself out of the bankruptcy conversation. It takes faith to go out on the limb and give your last $5 into the offering plate. Others may give $100, $200 maybe even $1,000. But for some, $2 is all they an spare. It’s all in how we are giving it. God only cares about the heart of the person giving, not the name of the dead president on the dollar bill!

Looking back to this morning, whatever that need was, I pray that it was met. I pray that whatever was happening, the attitudes of the cheerful givers were in the right place, that God was smiling down on our congregation as we opened our hearts to meet a need. Sometimes I give, sometimes I don’t. I always should. I may be more cheerful sometimes than others, but I pray that I will have  heart like David’s when it comes to giving, and that of his people also when it came time to give toward the Temple. As children of God, we aren’t called to “take, take, take.” We are commanded to give everything we can to others, and give what we can back to God. Moving forward, I want to make it a personal goal of mine to be better on that front.

Yours, O 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, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. -1 Chronicles 29:11

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