Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Joy of Giving Willingly!

Readings for the Day
1 Kings 2, 1 Chronicles 29, Psalm 95, 2 Thessalonians 1

Verses for the Day
1 Chronicles 29:14 “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. 15 We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you."

Thoughts for the Day
Today we see the transition of leadership from King David to his youngest son, Solomon. And since David is not chosen to build the Lord's temple, he passes on this duty to Solomon. Before he leaves, he urges the people to give generously to the building of the first temple for God's name. David reasons before the whole assembly gathered, "The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord God."

Then David does what any good leader does, he models the behavior he is asking for. He not only gives generously of the temple treasury, but he gives large amounts of his own personal treasure. And then he challenges them by saying, "Who is willing to consecrate themselves to The Lord today?

How did they respond to the challenge? The text says, "Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly."

David concludes with great joy, "Everything belongs to you, and we have only given you what comes from your own hand." David also points out that their days are only like a shadow, without hope. David concludes that this was a test from God to see the integrity of their hearts, and then expresses his great joy that the people gave willingly."

We can learn a lot from these verses as we apply them to our day. The temple today is the church, which is dedicated to God's work and His glory. Giving to the church and its mission always starts at the top with the leaders. If a leader is going to challenge people to give and doesn't lead by example, it will not be very inspiring. Notice David inspires the leaders, by his example, then the leaders inspire the rest of the people by their example. David's great joy, which I think is a reflection of God's heart, was that they gave willingly.

Giving willingly shows the heart of the giver. It is giving governed by a mindset that says our days on earth are like a shadow, but the temple we build for The Lord will last forever.

So here are some questions for us to consider?

1. Do we give willingly as a reflection of our desire to please God for who He is?
2. Do we see our giving as merely returning back what God has given us in the first place for His purposes?
3. Do we realize our life on earth is but a shadow, but our investment in God's kingdom will make a difference for all of eternity?

As God looks down on His people today it gives him great pleasure to see us giving joyfully and willingly. If we experience no joy in giving, we need to re-think why we give. Giving is a true test of our integrity that only God can see and test.

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