Two of my grandchildren stayed overnight with us this past weekend. After church yesterday we took them out for lunch. While we were waiting for our food, I thought that I would see what they took away from the morning’s message. They had paid attention to the pastor’s message and were able to share with my wife and I several points the pastor had made.
The pastor had preached from 1 Chronicles 29. This chapter was about how David prepared the nation of Israel for a major building project his son, Solomon, was going to undertake. So after my grandchildren had shared what they had learned from the message, I asked them two questions.
- What do you own?
- Why do you have it?
My 10 year old granddaughter started naming some of the things she thought she owned. In her list were some dolls and clothes. My 14 year old grandson thought that I was asking a trick question. So he chimed in and instructed his sister that she really didn’t own them since she didn’t buy them with her money. Then he told me that he really didn’t own anything. I asked him about the guitar he had and a couple of other items I knew he was very fond of. His response was very thought provoking. He said that he didn’t really own them because they were gifts to him from other people. My grandson answered me in this way thinking that I was asking him a trick question. However, he was really explaining a truth that most of us don’t understand ourselves.
I wonder how you would answer these same two questions. I would encourage you to take a few minutes and make a short list of some of the things you own. After making that list, ask yourself the second question. Why do you have the things on your list? For example, you might put your house on the list and would probably say that you have the house so you have shelter for yourself and your family. The list may include a car or two and you would explain how you need the car(s) for transportation to get to and from work and other obligations.
After making your list of things you own and explaining why you have these things, I would encourage you to read 1 Chronicles 29. The first nine verses are an account of the sacrificial offerings all the people of Israel made in order that Solomon would be able to build God’s temple. David chronicles what he personally gave and then he lists in detail everything the people gave. In yesterday’s message, the pastor gave some estimates of what the value of the people’s gifts were in today’s market. The amount was staggering as it was in the billions of dollars.
One of the keys to their giving is found in verse 5 of this chapter. David asked the people a very important question. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord? David was asking the people to give themselves to the Lord first. He did this because he knew that once a person surrendered himself to the Lord, the Lord would then have all the person has.
This is the same concept we find in the New Testament when some leaders tried to trick Jesus by asking Him if it were right to give tribute to Caesar. If you are familiar with the story, Jesus asked to see a coin. Once He was given the coin, He held it up and asked a very important question. Whose image is on this coin? The people quickly responded that it was the image of Caesar. I believe Jesus probably threw the coin back to them and said, Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
However, what He said next is the real meaning of this account. Jesus said, Give to God what is God’s. What has God’s image on it is what is His. Of course, the people knew that man was created in God’s image. This means that Jesus was telling the people that money is not what God wants. He wants the person because if God has a person, He has his money. This is the same thing that King David was trying to get the people to understand when he asked them to willingly consecrate themselves to the Lord.
The result of the people consecrating themselves to the Lord was staggering. They gave millions of dollars to the building of the temple. Why would they sacrifice so much for a building? The answer to twofold. First, they gave so much because they understood that the temple was not for them, but it was for the Lord God (vs. 1). Second, they gave to the Lord with a whole heart (vs. 9).
Something interesting is found starting in verse 10 of this chapter. We find David praising God’s greatness as he blessed the Lord. Then David explained a truth that my grandson seemed to understand in his answer to the two questions I had just asked him.
For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You…All this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours. 1 Chronicles 29:14, 16)
In reality, everything we have is from the Lord. Everything is His! I wrote this in my notes as I listened to yesterday’s sermon. God gives to me so that I can give to Him! Look at your list again. Do you understand that everything on that list, along with anything else you could add to the list, was given to you by God? Do you comprehend that it is all His and not yours? Finally, do you grasp the truth that all that God has given you is so that you can give to Him?
I believe the answers to these questions are the key to what kind of education we are giving and will give our children in the days, months and years ahead. That is something I will address in another blog. Today, the challenge is simply this. What do you own? Why do you have what you do?