Money Talks – But What Is It Really Saying? For such a time as this
1 Chronicles 29:1-20
I had the unique privilege of being pastor of two churches which have had long and illustrative histories, the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Time and again our spiritual forefathers have risen to the occasion when the hour of need has come. Down through history those before us have sacrificed and served that we might enjoy the benefits of their labor. We are deeply indebted to them. Our children have had the opportunity to be saved and grow up in the faith of God through these ministries because so many sacrificed so much in years gone by. Now, the baton has passed to us. We must do the same for the future! May our children and grandchildren look back upon us and remember us as a people of faith. We have come to the kingdom “for such a time as this.”
One of the most informative, instructional, and inspirational passages in all of Scripture is found in the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth chapters of the first book of Chronicles. David and his people were confronted with a challenge similar to the one facing those of us who are expanding church buildings. The time had come to build the temple in Jerusalem. It was to be the physical edifice where God would meet his people. After all the years in Egyptian bondage, after all the years of wilderness wanderings, after all the years of conquering Canaan, through the times of Judges and the reign of Saul and David, at last the glorious moment for the building of the temple had come. King David seized the opportunity to raise the money for the building of the magnificent edifice where Jehovah God would meet with His people for centuries to come.
David knew his whole life had been meant for that one special moment. What if you knew your whole life was meant for one special moment? What if you knew that all of your life God had prepared you to give and to prepare “for such a time as this.” Like Esther who would come after him, David had come to his kingdom “for such a time as this.” No wonder if was so easy to lead his people to give the necessary funds for the construction of the temple. It was the opportunity and moment of a lifetime, and God’s hand was upon him.
How did the Israelites do it? How did they raise such a vast sum of money for the building of the temple? They followed seven vital principles to victory. How can we do it as a family of faith? The answer is found in the pattern and principles left for us by the ancient Israelites. They left us some scriptural guidelines for supernatural giving “for such a time as this.” These guidelines have to do with the occasion of our giving, the order of our giving, the origin of our giving, the object of our giving, the opportunity of our giving, the objective of our giving, and the outcome of our giving.
Principle No. 1: The occasion of our giving
“… the temple is not for man but for the Lord God.” 1 Chronicles 29:1
“Furthermore King David said to all the assembly: ‘My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced; and the work is great, because the temple is not for man but for the Lord God’” (1 Chr. 29:1).
Was the building of this magnificent temple something David thought up himself? Was it the brainchild of his constituency? No, a thousand times no! The occasion of their giving was God-caused. God had initiated the need of the temple and God had given David the plan for building it.
Consider the following Scriptures: “And the plans for all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, of all the chambers all around, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries for the dedicated things” (1 Chr. 28:12). “All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans” (1 Chr. 28:19). “And David said to his son Solomon, ‘Bes strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord’” (1 Chr. 28:20).
God had caused the need and God had given David the plan for carrying it out. The temple was not the imagination of a man’s mind. It was initiated and orchestrated by God himself. The occasion of the Israelites giving was God-caused and God-directed.
David placed before his people the greatness of the task. He said, “The work is great” (1 Chr. 29:1). People then and people now want to be a part of something that is great for God! Yes, the task is great for us. Do you know why some people in some churches never give of their resources willingly and joyfully? They do not believe the work is great. For some of them it has become a mere ecclesiastical ritual to be performed on Sunday morning so they might see themselves as respectable.
When we built a new church plant in Fort Lauderdale, I asked our people some questions. Do you think what God is doing through our First Baptist Church is important? Do you think it is a great work? Do you think it is not for man but for God? If so, you realize the occasion of our giving like the Israelites is God-initiated and not man-initiated. David gives us the true reason why the work was great? Why? Because “the temple is not for man but for the Lord God” (1 Chr. 29:1). This is why we were involved in that great work in Fort Lauderdale. It was not for us; it was for a testimony to God. Long after every one of us in heaven, people by the tens of thousands will pass those facilities and see that there was a people of faith who responded to a God-caused need who rose to the occasion of raising up a cross in the heart of a hell-bent, sinful city. The work is great! Why? Because the temple is not for man but for the Lord God.
What is the occasion of our giving? God’s blessings brought about our needs. We were a God-blessed people. We would not need new facilities if we were a dead church. We would not need new facilities if we did not sense the urgency of the hour in reaching masse of men and women for Christ. We would not need new facilities if we existed solely for those who are here now, instead of those who are yet without our walls. We would not need new facilities we had no vision. The truth is, we did not create the need. God did! The need before us was an invitation from God for each of us to discover how wonderfully He can provide.
The building of new facilities did not originate with us. We did everything we could for ten years to keep reaching people for Christ without constructing buildings. When one Sunday school was full we started another, then a third. When one worship service was full, we started a second, and then a third. God’s blessings and the impression of His Spirit upon our hearts brought about our needs. And since God’s former blessings brought about our need, we could be sure that God’s future blessings would be sufficient to meet the needs the former blessings caused!
What is the occasion of our giving? Like the Israelites, God has taken the initiative. The occasion of our giving is God-directed and God-initiated. This is an important principle to victory.
Principle No. 2: The order of our giving
“… I have given to the house of my God… my own special treasure… Then the leaders… the captains…with the officers over the kings’ work, offered willingly.” 1 Chronicles 29:2-9
“Now for the house of my God I have prepared with all my might: gold for things to be made of gold, silver for things of silver, bronze for things of bronze, iron for things of iron, wood for things of wood, onyx stones, stones to be set, glistening stones of various colors, all kinds of precious stones, and marble slabs in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses; the gold for things of gold and the silver for things of silver, and for all kinds of work to be done by the hands of craftsmen. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?”
“Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king’s work, offered willingly. They gave for the work of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, into the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chr. 29:2-9)
The proper order of our giving is a vital principle to victory (note who led the way in giving). The people? No. The leadership? No. David himself :the leader. David said, “I have given my own special treasure of gold and silver” (1 Chr. 29:3). David told his people what he and his family were going to do. He was giving out of his personal treasures. Some men are used to doing things out of expense accounts. David did not take money out of the government treasury to meet a need. He gave of his own personal treasures. It is interesting that David told them exactly what he and his family were going to do. He let them know he was giving one hundred twelve and a half tons of gold and two hundred sixty-two and a half tons of silver. What led David to give so liberally and sacrificially? He had “set his affection upon the house of his God.” He had devoted his heart to it.
David did not simply give his personal time. There are a lot of leaders who do that. Nor did David simply give of his personal talent. Still other leaders do this. David gave of his personal treasure for the construction of the temple and it was over and above his regular giving. Note the order of the giving. First, David gave. Then the leadership gave. Then the people gave.
Examples are vitally important. Here we see David setting the example. He is practicing what Gideon preached when he said to his men, “Do as I do.” It is the same principle Pail would use later when he wrote to the Philippians and said, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9). It as the same principle Paul used when he wrote the Corinthian church saying, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
David made a sacrifice. Earlier he had said, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24). David did not say, “Well, God, I am a very wealthy man. I’ll give you out of my abundance. Here is a little token, a little tip. You know what the market has been lately. The elections are right around the corner. The economy is so unsettled. Interest rates are still quite questionable.” No, David didn’t say those things. He led by example. He gave a sacrificial gift out of his personal treasury.
As a pastor, I wrestled with this. On the surface it appears to be that Scripture is in contradiction. David specifically tells the people the amount of his personal gift, and yet I remember that Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount that we should not let one hand know what our other hand is doing. There are many that are quick to point to these words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Is the Scripture in conflict? Was David out of line here? Let’s note carefully the words Jesus preached on the grassy hillside in Galilee:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:1-8).
Does Jesus mean that all giving is to be done in secret? If so, in the context, it must mean that all praying is to be done in secret. We know this is certainly not the case because as we read the Gospels we find the Lord Jesus praying publicly on almost every page and three times from the cross itself! The key to understanding this passage is to note the type of giving Jesus was discussing in the Sermon on the Mount. It was “giving to the needy.” The King James Version translates it “alms.” This was the specific type of giving which Jesus was referring to that should be done in secret. He was reacting to the custom of the blowing of the trumpets when a rich man would walk through the lines of poor beggars and toss in a few coins. The Lord Jesus was not referring to all giving here any more than he was referring to all praying being done in secret in the same context. What are we saying? David was right in doing what he did because his motives and his heart were pure.
David was setting the example for his people as a leader should do. When the people found out that he was committed, they gave willingly. That puts the pastor on the spot, doesn’t it? When we led our churches in major giving programs our family prayed much about what we would do with our personal treasures. Like King David, we shared with our people what God led us to do. It is the price of leadership. And we have never once been able to outgive Him. We have seen the truth and the proof of Luke 6:38 over and over again. It says, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into you bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Like David, we find great joy in giving. What is the order of our giving? The very word “leader” implies paving the way not just with time and talent but also with treasure.
An interesting thing happens next. David did not simply give his testimony, sit down and leave it at that. He challenged his people. He was not afraid to ask his people to join him giving. As soon as he told them what he was going to do, he asked this question, “Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” (1 Chr. 29:5).
The result of David’s challenge was overwhelming. The people gave “willingly.” The Bible records, “Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chr. 29:9). They rejoiced at their leader’s sacrifice and they rose to the meet the challenge. The people of God always rise to meet a God-caused challenge!
It is important to note that David did not ask the others to do anything that he had not done himself. He had led the way by example. He didn’t say, “I’ll leave it to the princes and people to come up with the necessary funds for the construction of the temple. I’ll give my time and my talent but I’ll let the rich people do the rest.” No! David led by example. He said, “Now for the house of my God I have prepared with all my might” (1 Chr. 29:2). Then he challenged the people, “Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” (1 Chr. 29:5). The first words of the very next verse speak volumes, “Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king’s work, offered willingly.”
It is a probing question, “Who is willing to consecrate himself today to the Lord?” At least give critical questions arise out of this verse. WHO? This is the real probing question. Will you? WHAT? What is it that David is challenging the people to do? He is challenging them to consecrate themselves to God. There is an important order to follow here. They were first to give themselves. Then they were to give of their treasure. This is the way the Macedonians gave and were commended for all posterity by the apostle Paul. He said of the “That in a great trail of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality” (2 Cor. 8:2). He went on to say (v. 15), “He who gathered much has nothing left over and he who gathered little had no lack.” HOW? This is another important question arising out of verse five. That is, how were they to give? The answer is “willingly.” This was a call for voluntary, self-sacrificing service. Nothing is gained for the glory of God until our hearts are wiling. WHEN? When were they to consecrate themselves to God? Today! The need is urgent! Today is not too early. Tomorrow may be too late. The time is now “for such a time as this.” TO WHOM? The final question of verse five is an important one. To whom are we to give? Are we to give to the church? Are we to give to the new buildings? No! We are to give to the Lord! Here is our highest service produced by a noble motive? “I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You” (1 Chr. 29:17). The offering received by the Israelites was free will offering. No one told anyone else what to give. David did not tell the leaders or the people what to give. He did not assess anyone a certain amount. David simply told the people what he and his family were going to do and challenged them to meet God and do what God impressed upon their hearts.
I have a word for this. I call it grace giving. There is a kind of giving which one might call “guilt giving.” It says, “ I will give because I ought to give.” There is also “grudge giving.” It says, “I will give because I have to give.” But neither of these are seen in the fund-raising program of the temple. What is seen here is what we desire. It is “grace giving,” which says, “I will give willingly because I want to give.”
When God’s order for giving is carried out it results in great rejoicing. It is not surprising that those who have o real joy or rejoicing are usually those who are selfish and stingy. The Israelite’s were so full of joy one would think they must have received some tremendous gift. After all, most people find joy in getting! But here we see an amazing principle. Their joy was from giving and not from getting. The world says joy comes from getting. We who know Christ know better. The Word says real joy comes from giving. David and his people discovered the truth that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
What was the outcome of it all? The giving became contagious. First David gave, then the leaders gave, then all Israel got in on it and gave willingly. David said, “now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willing to you” (1 Chr. 29:17).
The occasion of our giving is God-caused. The order of our giving is first the leader, then the leadership, then the people. I sense what was in David’s heart when he said, “Nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” My continual prayer is that it might be said of us what was said of the Israelites, “Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chr. 29:9).
Principle No. 3: The origin of our giving
“… For all thins come from You, and of Your own we have given You.” 1 Chronicles 29:11
“But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims before You,
As were all our fathers; Our days on earth are as a shadow, And without hope. “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own” (1 Chr. 29:14-16).
Where do we find the origin of our giving? How can we possibly give what God has impressed upon our hearts? Where is the origin of our giving? Many are quick to look into the bank account balances. Others look to the origin of their giving in stock portfolios or life insurance polices or the like. What is the origin of our giving? David discovered it! He said, “For all things come from You and of Your own we have given You” (1 Chr. 29:14). This is what the songwriter meant when he said, “All I have needed Thy hand has provided, great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
AS a pastor I often felt in my own heart what David surely felt when he said, “Who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?” (1 Chr. 29:14). How can this possibly come about? The secret is in the last phrase in verse 14. Listen to it. Don’t miss it. Here is the key for our personal stewardship: “For all things come from You and of Your own we have given You.”
Do you see it? Everything belongs to God. We are not to give out of our limited resources, but we are privileged t give out of God’s unlimited resources. It all comes from God and we have the ability to “give out of God’s hand.” God owns all the wealth in this world and the next. David said it this way, “For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours” (I Chr. 29:11). In the Psalms he declared, “The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness” (Ps. 24:1). Paul put it this way “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever” (Rom. 11:36). Yes, God owns all the wealth in this world and the next. Not only does God own everything, God wants his wealth in circulation. We learn this from the familiar passage from Malachi which said, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open fro your windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10). In God’s economy the earth had one theme in the beginning. It was give, give, give, give. The sun gave. The earth gave. The animals gave. Man gave. The trees gave. The enemy then introduced a new concept and it was get, get, get, get. And man became greedy and begins to live by this philosophy. However, God wants His wealth in circulation.
Think this through. God owns it all and wants it in circulation. Here is another important point. All God’s wealth belongs to His children. Listen to Paul, “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Rom. 8:17). We are heirs of Go. It all belongs to us. You say if we are heirs then where are our riches? How do we lay hold on what is ours from God? Now, if God owns it all, wants it in circulation, and it belongs to u… how do we get it? The way to appropriate God’s wealth is to give. This is what Jesus is trying to get us to se when He said, “Give and wit will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38). We are to give out of God’s resources, not our own. David put it this way: “Give out of God’s hand.” We are not necessarily to give what we think we can afford but we are to reach over into His abundant and unlimited resources and give from them. What a privilege. The issue is not what do I have the ability to do. That philosophy is giving out of my own hand and God gets no glory in that. The issue is what has God said that He desires to do through me? What is it that He desired for me to believe by faith to give from His hand? What are we saying? Everything comes from God! He is the origin of our giving. David said it well when he said, “For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given you” (1 Chr. 29:14).
Everything comes from God. This is what David is reminding his people when he says, "For we are aliens and pilgrims before You… our days on earth are as a shadow” (1 Chr. 29:15). Life is short—too short. Our days are like a shadow. We only pass this way once. We are merely stewards along this journey. The question is, “What have you done with that which God has entrusted you?” Some of my readers have no time to lose. Some of you have hair that is graying and may find this to be the last great opportunity in your entire lifetime to do something big for God. The way is before us “for such a time as this.” The occasion of our giving is God-caused. The order of our giving is first the heart, and then the personal treasure. The origin of our giving is God Himself. We are not to give from our own limited resources but out of His hand from His unlimited resources. “Everything comes from God.”
Principle No. 4: The object of our Giving
“… with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You.” (1 Chr. 29:17).
“I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You” (1 Chr. 29:17).
To what or to whom are we being challenged to give? Were the Israelites giving their personal treasures to the church? Are we giving our personal treasures to brick, or mortar, or buildings? What is the object of our giving? Note carefully what David says, “… with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You” (1 Chr. 29:17).
One might say, “I thought they were giving to the temple.” To whom were they giving? They were giving to God. They were not giving to the temple. To whom are we giving? What is the object of our giving? We are giving to God. We are not giving to new buildings or to our church. When we put a handle on this vital principle, it will be a breakthrough for us as it was for the Israelites. The object of our giving is the Lord Jesus Himself. We simply happen to be giving through our local churches to Him?
As much as I love my church, my family and I are not giving our personal treasures to the church. We are not giving one dime to concrete or steel or mortar or concrete blocks or tile or carpet or pews. The object of our giving is the Lord Himself. It just happens to be that we are giving to Him through a great soul-saving station. As we take from His hand, we put it back into His other hand. And He has a way of seeing that He can trust us and when He does, He gives, and gives and gives again. The object of our giving is the Lord Himself!
Principle No. 5: The opportunity of our giving
“… in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things…” 1 Chronicles 29:17-18
“I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You” (1 Chr. 29:17-18).
How does a Christian walk in “uprightness?” He does so by doing what he claims to be. A Christian walks in integrity when his walk matches his talk and when his life matches his lips. We say we are a people of faith. We say we live by faith. David reminds us that “God tests the heart and has pleasure in uprightness” (1 Chr. 29:17). Yes, God tests or hearts to see if we really dare to live by faith. The Bible admonishes us, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Col. 2:6). Many are quick to say we are saved by faith. But so few of us continue in the same way. We say we are saved by faith, but we live our life by works. If faith is good enough to save us it is surely good enough to live by. So many Christians who walk through the door o Christ by faith revert to what they can see and do themselves in living The Christian life. God is testing the integrity of our hearts.
What is the opportunity of our giving? The opportunity before us is to please God by living by faith. He is “pleased with integrity.” Some of us pride ourselves in our own integrity and need to hear these words and heed them. We say that we are a Christian by faith alone in Jesus Christ. We say we believe God will never leave us. We say we believe all of His promises. And yet so many of us live by sight. Our hope is in our savings account or stock portfolios or real estate holdings or retirement packages. This is a call for integrity in Christian living. David put it this way, “I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness” (1 Chr. 29:17). What an opportunity is ours to say to the world, “All things are possible—only believe!”
Now, this creates a great deal of pressure upon an individual. However, the pressure is put upon us by the Holy Spirit Himself. When we gave to build the new buildings in Fort Lauderdale we made a faith pledge to God that was given weekly and systematically over three years. Many of us have spent a lifetime doing that with the world. We have done such things as sign thirty-year mortgages with a lending institution and promise to pay on the first of the month for the next thirty years.
IS there a Biblical basis for a faith pledge? Indeed there is. Do you remember when Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and challenged them to make a gift? Listen to his own words, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me” (1 Cor. 16:1-4).
One year later, Paul writes back to the same church (recorded in 2 Corinthians 8:9) and says to them that he is sending Titus to make sure the gift is ready when he gets there. Note carefully what Paul says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). The New International Version translates that Scripture, “That which you decided in your heart to give.” In the original language the words is “prohaireomai.” It means “ to decide ahead of time to do a certain thing.” The Corinthians had made a faith pledge ahead of time and they gave it when the time came.
We did exactly the same thing Paul admonished this first century church to do. We decided ahead of time what we were going to give from God’s hand to the Lord over the next three years. We were challenged to make a gift just as Paul challenged the church in 1 Corinthians 16. Over the next three years we gave what we decided “ahead of time” to give. We called it a faith pledge. It doesn’t really matter what you call it as long as you meet God and give from His hand.
We are now at the heart of the issue before us. We are dealing with God Himself who knows our hearts. In a very real sense our own spiritual integrity is revealed at this point. It is no wonder some feel pressure from the Holy Spirit. We call it a faith pledge because the issue is our faith in God’s ability to provide. The issue is not our faith in what the economy is going to do or who the next president of the United States will be, nor anything else that man can do, manipulate or orchestrate. The opportunity before us is our faith to believe in God’s readiness and willingness to provide through us from His hand for His work. What an opportunity! We have the opportunity in our giving to show the world that Jesus Christ is alive and at work in and through us to the Father’s glory.
Our integrity and our motives are at issue here. Do you know that it is possible for a Christian to do something in the eyes of man is wonderful but in the eyes of God is detestable? There are lot of folks who do things in the eyes of men that are wonderful. Some even receive plaques and the like for them, but Jesus put it this way, “No on can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:13-15). David said the same thing in the follow way, “I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You” (1 Chr. 29:17).
As commendable as David’s efforts were and as valuable as his gifts were, had his motives been the applause of men, the whole matter would have been an abomination to God and detestable before His eyes. David sought to walk by faith in integrity and to glorify God in the process. We catch a glimpse of his heart when he says, “O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You” (1 Chr. 29:18). David desired for it t become a lifestyle, not only for himself, but for his people. It will become a lifestyle for us as we keep our hearts loyal to Him. David’s concern was that his people would continue and that his pattern of giving would not just become a one-time shot, but a transformation of a lifestyle toward faith and dependence upon God forever.
Our personal giving is the place where our spiritual integrity is revealed before God. God is measuring our personal integrity. David said the task was great because the temple was not for man but for the Lord God. May it be said of us what was said of the church at Rome, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world (Rom. 1:8). What an opportunity we have to be a blessing and encouragement to the work of God around the world.
Principle No. 6: The objective of our giving
“…so all the assembly blessed the Lord God…” 1 Chr. 29:20
“But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You” (1 Chr. 29:14).
“Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the Lord your God.” So all the assembly blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Lord and the king” (1 Chr. 29:20).
What is the objective in giving? Our objective is that everyone become involved. Our objective is that everyone prays and everyone fasts and everyone meets God and everyone gives from God’s hand. The Israelites victory won the day because each one did his or her part. The one thing that stands out in each of the above passages of Scripture from Chronicles is that each one of the Israelites was involved. It was a case of total participation.
The early church had the same objective and followed the Israelites example. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1) ‘Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need (Acts 2:44-45). “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need” (Acts 4:32-35).
Our objective in giving is the same. We along to see everyone involved with no one missing the blessing of giving. Someone might say, “I have no money; I have nothing to give.” Then give from God’s hand. Proverbs 13:23 reminds us, “Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor.” Fallow ground is ground that has not been used, plowed nor planted for a considerable period of time. God is saying there are resources available where we think there are none. There is much food in the fallow ground of the poor! God show us fallow ground!
Everyone gave to the Lord for the building of the temple. Old men gave. Young men gave. Middle age men gave. Women gave. Young couples gave. Singles gave. Teenagers and boys and girls gave. Those without money sold their possessions and gave. It was victory day because everyone got in on it.
Remember the occasion of our offering is God-caused. The order of our offering is first from the heart and then from our gifts. The origin of our offering is to give from God’s hand. The object of our offering is the Lord Himself. The opportunity of our offering is to please God by being people of faith. The objective is everyone being involved.
Principle No. 7: The outcome of our giving
“…Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty…” 1 Chr. 29:10-13
“Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name” 1 Chr. 29:10-13.
“I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. 18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You. 19 And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision. Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the Lord your God.” So all the assembly blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Lord and the king” (1 Chr. 29:17-20).
What was the outcome of the Israelites giving? God got the glory! The people pointed to His greatness and not that of David or the leadership. The outcome of their giving was all praise going to the Lord God. Can you just imagine their joy when the offering was taken? Can you just see David standing up in front of his people saying, “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name” 1 Chr. 29:10-13. God was glorified that day because where a man puts his treasure his heart is sure to follow. They “bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Lord and the king” (1 Chr. 29:20).
Their giving resulted in revival. Usually, in the end, money is the last thing to which people hold. There are lot of people who give their time. There are lot of people who give their talents but so many hold back their personal treasures. These men and women said, “God it’s all yours; here it is!” And Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). Our hearts always follow our treasures. If we primarily put our treasures in some kind of activity, our hearts will be there. If we put our treasures in the work of God, our hearts will be there. And revival will result! The Israelites made a sacrifice for those who would come after them. They gave to the Lord God… for others and not for themselves.
One might think that such incredible success as David and his people saw would make them burst with pride. Quite the contrary, it brought a deep sense of gratitude and a humble spirit. “David said to the whole assembly… ‘Look what we have done!’” No! That’s not what he said. He said, “Now bless the Lord your God. So all the assembly blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Lord and the king” (1 Chr. 29:20). What an outcome there was of praise and worship. Oh that we might join them in bringing great honor and glory to the living Christ “for such a time as this.”
The task before the church is great. We are a part of something grand and glorious because what we are about is “not for many but for the Lord God.” How can we do it? We can follow the example of the Israelites and these scriptural guidelines for supernatural giving:
- The occasion of our giving. The occasion of our giving is God-caused. Ours is a God-caused need. Remember, if God’s former blessings brought about our present needs, his future blessings will be sufficient to meet the needs the former blessings have caused! We can trust the Lord. He is the initiator of our need.
- The order of our giving. The pastor and leadership must lead the way and the people will follow. First we are to give ourselves and then our gifts. May we be able to join the Israelites and may it be said of us, “The people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chr. 29:20).
- The origin of our giving. Our ability to give comes from God. “Everything comes from God and we have given only what comes from His hand.” He owns it all, wants his wealth in circulation. We are his heirs, and the way to appropriate his wealth is to give! He is the origin of our giving.
- The object of our giving. We are not giving to brick, nor mortar, nor our church, but the object of our giving is to Lord Himself. David put it this way, “Now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You” (1 Chr. 29:17).
- The opportunity of our giving. We have the opportunity to be a tremendous witness for Christ by walking by faith. God knows our hearts. Integrity is the byword. We say we are people of faith and now it is time to let our walk match our talk and our life match our lips. Like David, we too know that God “tests the heart and has pleasure in uprightness” ( 1 Chr. 29:17).
- The objective of our giving. The objective of our giving is that everyone meet God and give by revelation. Everyone being involved is the key to victory. No one is unimportant. Remember there is much food in the fallow ground of the poor.
- The outcome of our giving. The ultimate outcome of it all is that the Lord Jesus Christ might be glorified and honored and praised. Our desire is that we praise the Lord our God and give Him glory through the whole experience.
Yes, money talks… but what is it really saying?