Sunday, our church will carry out the annual exercise of approving our operating budget for 2019. This is a necessary part of the life of our church. I am always concerned that we will lose sight of the ministry reflected in the dollars. When we think of giving to the Lord and not the church, our perspective changes.
In 1 Chronicles 29, there is a wonderful passage that prompts important questions about our giving to God.
- Who does it belong to anyway?
The first nine verses of this text are a description of the giving of David followed by a description of the giving of the people. Beginning in verse 10 is a prayer of thanksgiving for being able to make the offering. The heart of this prayer communicates “the right perspective about possessions.” Everything belongs to God. Greatness, power, glory, victory, majesty—these all belong to God.
This list of praise leads David to ask a defining question, as recorded in verse 14, “But who am I, and who are my people that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?” And then the conclusive statement at the end of verse 14, “For all things come from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your own hand.”
The only reason we have anything to give is because we have received from God.
- What is my attitude about my giving?
The obvious truth of this passage is that we should be willing and joyful when we give. Indeed, as Paul said, “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- What am I seeking to benefit from my gift?
David and his people recognized that they were giving to the construction of the Temple of which they would never personally benefit. I love this description of giving. This is true giving. Let us be mindful that we give, not to get, but instead just to give and be a blessing to God and others.
- What if everyone in my church gave as I did?
Here’s a good final question. The question is not about amount, but about attitude and proportion of income. What if every person gave the way you gave? Would your church be better or worse if everyone gave according to the manner of your giving?