During the month of November I’ve been speaking on the subject of giving. That may seem unnatural, given the state of our nation’s economy. Prices are rising as well as unemployment statistics. Giving to not for profit organizations is significantly down from 2009, yet members of our nation’s faith communities continue to be faithful in their regular tithes and offerings.
I found an incredible passage that really spoke to me about the kind of attitude we should have toward giving. 1 Chronicles 29 is set in history at the end of King David’s life. Like many who are in their twilight years, he was concerned about the legacy he would leave behind. The legacy he desired to leave was the construction of a permanent Temple for the worship of God. Though God has relayed to David through the prophet Nathan that he was not the one to build the Temple, David stayed the course and put together the blueprints for the project and raised the funds to insure its success. Like any good fund raiser, David began by sharing his own commitment: over 100 tons of gold and 262 tons of silver, plus other important building materials. He would leave everything he had for the project. Imagine the surprise of his family when they discovered there would be nothing bequeathed to them!
As David offered his prayer to God, he simultaneously offered some wonderful advice for how the listeners then and the readers now will find beneficial.
1. Acknowledge God’s ownership of all things (1 Chronicles 29:10-11).
David began by stating something critically important to our understanding of giving: it all belongs to God. I think the biggest myth around today concerning giving is the myth that as long as a person gives to God, say 10% for example, they can do as they wish with the remainder. That is simply not true. It’s all God’s.
2. Every blessing we have comes from God (1 Chronicles 29:12-13).
Think of every blessing in your life. Is there a single one we can take credit for? One of the first Bible verses I memorized was James 1:17, which says that “every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights with whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning.” God not only owns all things, but also gets the credit for every good gift we enjoy.
3. When we give we are responding to God as the owner of all things and the giver of all blessings (1 Chronicles 29:14-16).
Here’s a thought you may not have thought of before, but even the very gifts we offer to God is God’s. We can’t even claim credit for our own generosity.
4. When your heart is in tune with God, you will give (1 Chronicles 29:17-20).
Not only will you give, but according to David you will give joyfully and willingly. Not only that, your giving will inspire others to give.