Giving to the Church-1 Chronicles 29_1-19
Giving to the Church
1 Chronicles 29:1-19
A man had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. He could receive little company and was not to be excited. While in the hospital a rich uncle died and left him a million dollars. His family wondered how to break the news to him with the least amount of excitement. It was decided to ask the preacher if he would go and break the news quietly to the man. The preacher went, and gradually led up to the question. The preacher asked the patient what he would do if he inherited a million dollars. He said, “I think I would give half of it to the church.” The preacher dropped dead.
· The idea of giving to many Christians is a pretty sensitive one.
· I sometimes fear that we would rather drop dead then hear another sermon about giving.
· There are leaders in churches that will tell you that if you are not giving 10% of your income you are sinning.
· They talk about how you should give off your gross income rather the net so that you can receive a gross blessing not a net one.
· There are churches that want to see your income tax returns to determine how much they will demand of you.
· Then there is the controversies that many TV ministries create when they try to tell you that if you sow financially into their ministry you will see financial wealth.
· All the while they are misappropriating millions of donations.
· Pastors preach sermons on giving that talk about responsibility and blessing; giving first to the storehouse of the lord while the congregation cringes for fear of being made feel guilty that they are giving below the standard.
· I have struggled when it comes to giving.
· It has been difficult in many ways that I will talk about today but the one thing that has overshadowed much of my issues is the materialism that wants to control my heart.
· In me is the propensity to envy and strive for what others would have-I easily succumb to the values of this world and want to keep up with my neighbors.
· Your struggles may not be the same as mine but today’s message is one that speaks to the issue of giving as a whole.
· The nature of the church in the Old and New Testaments saw money as something that was a simple reality.
· There was work to be done and it needed resources.
· Today this reality is no different-it is critical to the function of the church.
· We will be looking at two areas: (1) 1 Chronicles 29:1-19 gives us some principles that apply to giving that transcend cultures and period of time. (2) General principles that come with the New covenant, much of which we see in 2 Cor. 8-9.
Giving Should be done with a Desire to Please God (1)
29:1 King David said to the entire assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is just an inexperienced young man,1 and the task is great, for this palace is not for man, but for the Lord God.
· The act of providing for the work of the church is not a task done in order to gain favor from people.
· Giving is a task of the people of the church for God alone
· When we give it should be done with the mindset that this goes to God even though it may be used to pay a pastor, buy worship equipment or pay the utilities.
· Giving is done rightfully in order to place a priority on God.
· Giving done humanly is completed with a desire to gain self acclaim
· When we understand who giving is for it opens up our willingness to give as God intended.
· To please God is an external purpose that is worth contributing.
Giving Should be Done with All Our Ability (2)
29:2 So I have made every effort2 to provide what is needed for the temple of my God, including the gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood,3 as well as a large amount of onyx, settings of antimony and other stones, all kinds of precious stones, and alabaster.
· David makes it clear that because this is the Lord’s work he must with all his ability contribute to it.
· Note how he refers to God: “as my God”. There is a relationship that David is appealing to. There is a closeness in this relationship that he appreciates in his dedication to giving to God.
· His first ability it to take the resources of the Kingdom.
· In this time there was a blur between church and state. God had instituted the rule of David and soon Solomon would take over.
· So the resources of the kingdom were meant for the work of God.
· This something like using profits of a business to fund the church.
· David identified the need and gave all that he could.
Giving Should be Done with Generosity (3-5)
29:3 Now, to show my commitment to the temple of my God, I donate my personal treasure of gold and silver to the temple of my God, in addition to all that I have already supplied for this holy temple. 29:4 This includes 3,000 talents4 of gold from Ophir and 7,000 talents of refined silver for overlaying the walls of the buildings, 29:5 for gold and silver items, and for all the work of the craftsmen. Who else wants to contribute to the Lord today?”
· David could have stopped with the giving he had already done but he wanted to demonstrate his commitment personally.
· Again note the personal nature of his relationship when he says “my God”.
· He gives his personal funds-this was money or wealth outside of his position as king.
· He has acquired Gold and Silver gives it to the work of the Lord.
· He gives it for construction but also to help pay for the workers.
· He gives 101 tons of Gold: $2.5 billion
· He gives 235 tons of Silver: $113 million
Giving Should be Done with a Willing Heart (6-8)
29:6 The leaders of the families, the leaders of the Israelite tribes, the commanders of units of a thousand and a hundred, and the supervisors of the king’s work contributed willingly. 29:7 They donated for the service of God’s temple 5,000 talents5 and ten thousand darics6 of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze, and 100,000 talents of iron. 29:8 All who possessed precious7 stones donated them to the treasury of the Lord’s temple, which was under the supervision of Jehiel the Gershonite.
· The offering was done because they desired to do so.
· They gave 168 tons of Gold: $4.4 billion
· They gave 336 tons of silver: $161 million
· 605 tons of bronze: $1.8 million.
· 3365 tons of iron: $673,000
· On top of that they gave precious stones
· Willingly meant that they believed in the work to be done.
· They were not forced or obligated but did so because it was good and right.
Giving Should Bring Delight from the Right Attitude (9)
29:9 The people were delighted with their donations, for they contributed to the Lord with a willing attitude;8 King David was also very happy.9
· You and I have been told that giving should bring joy.
· Ever done something because you were made to do it? How much joy did it bring?
· The key to being delighted in our giving is the attitude with which we give it.
· Their hearts were turned towards this task and the outcome was joy in it.
· David as a leader also was rejoicing because of what the people were doing.
· When we do something willingly it affects entirely our attitude.
Giving Should be Done with Recognition to Whom it Belongs (10-16)
29:10 David praised the Lord before the entire assembly:10“O Lord God of our father Israel, you deserve praise forevermore! 29:11 O Lord, you are great, mighty, majestic, magnificent, glorious, and sovereign11 over all the sky and earth! You have dominion and exalt yourself as the ruler12 of all. 29:12 You are the source of wealth and honor;13 you rule over all. You possess strength and might to magnify and give strength to all.14 29:13 Now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your majestic name! 29:14 “But who am I and who are my people, that we should be in a position to contribute this much?15 Indeed, everything comes from you, and we have simply given back to you what is yours.16 29:15 For we are resident foreigners and nomads in your presence, like all our ancestors;17 our days are like a shadow on the earth, without security.18 29:16 O Lord our God, all this wealth, which we have collected to build a temple for you to honor your holy name, comes from you; it all belongs to you.
· David then launches into a prayer of praise thanking God for his greatness.
· He thanks him for all the wealth given to his people.
· He understands that the only reason that they could give this much is because he gives so much.
· Our approach to giving needs to come from a clear understanding that every penny is God’s.
· We are stewarts of God’s wealth-managers of it in this world.
· The ability to contribute generously only is provided by God’s grace to give us much.
· Nothing belongs to you.
Giving Should be Done with Right Motives (17-19)
29:17 I know, my God, that you examine thoughts19 and are pleased with integrity. With pure motives20 I contribute all this; and now I look with joy as your people who have gathered here contribute to you. 29:18 O Lord God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, maintain the motives of your people and keep them devoted to you.21 29:19 Make my son Solomon willing to obey your commands, rules, and regulations, and to complete building the palace for which I have made preparations.”
· Nothing robs joy and pleasure from serving God then doing it with the wrong motives.
· David gave because he loved God.
· The people were giving because they were giving to their God.
· When we give out of obligation, pressure or to impress it is the wrong reasons.
· Wrong motives are a sign of a lack of devotion to God.
· The OT called for the people of God to give the tithe.
· The word tithe means “tenth”.
· There is evidence in the OT that God required three tithes.
· The first was ten percent of all possessions (Lev. 27:30-33) for temple ministry
· The second tenth was taken off of the remainder (Deut. 12:17-18) for sacrifices and feasts.
· The third tenth was taken every third year (Deut. 14:26-29) for orphans, widows and the Levites.
· The actual amount required was from 19-23% depending on the nature of this third tithe.
· The tithe was more of an income tax than it was a gift-that is why the Bible refers to tithes and offerings.
· The tithe was the requirement and then there was the expectation that the people of God would also give offerings as the Israelites did in 1 Chron. 29.
· In applying the tithe to us today, giving ten percent is undergiving.
· The tithe is not for the NT church- you no longer have to tithe.
· The tithe was part of the economic system of the Law but the NT teaches that we are no longer under the law.
· The coming of Christ and the new covenant supersedes the OT covenant with the higher law of Spirit of life in Christ.
· We are no longer under any kind of legal system of external rules or legal regulations which we are to keep in relation to our walk with God.
· The standard for giving to the church is not a set amount based on an external law but rather based on the leading of the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14)
· NT teaches that we are to give in proportion to the leading of the Spirit (2 Cor. 8:1-3)
· The word tithe is never used in the NT as a command or regulation and when it is refered to it is only in a historical context to life before Christ.
· Giving according to the tithe is a hindrance to proportionate giving prescribed in the NT.
· To give according to the tithe some believers may be ‘sowing sparingly’ and others may be ‘sowing bountifully’
· Giving ten percent for some would be giving beyond their ability and giving according to what they do not have (2 Cor. 8:12)
· In other cases living according to the tithe means they are relieved of their responsibility in giving (2 Cor. 8:13)
· Proportionate giving brings equality to giving that Paul refers to in 2 Cor. 8:14-15
· To be a good steward of the money God gives you means that the more prosperous believers give more out of their abundance while those with less give a smaller percent.
· The person who has less may decide as God stirs them to give sacrificially but that is between them and God and not according to a set tithe.
· Proportionate giving is giving in proportion to God’s blessing, as a steward who wants to invest his life in heavenly treasure.
· Proportionate giving does not mean just giving more, but giving a greater proportion of one’s income- a greater percentage invested in God’s work.
· The giving is based one what one has, their needs, the needs of others which includes all aspects of the work of Christ and the church.
· Those who have little may give little (2 Cor. 8:2-3)
· Those who have nothing may not give anything (2 Cor. 8:12)
· Those who have an abundance are to be rich in good works which includes monetary giving (2 Cor. 8:14)
· Increased prosperity should not result in a higher standard of living or wasteful spending but in an increase in giving.
· John Wesley was eventually one of England’s most wealthy citizens. Yet, as his income sharply increased, look at what happened to his spending habits:
Income Living Expenses To the Poor
First year: 30 pounds 28 pounds (93%) 2 pounds (7%)
Second year: 60 pounds 28 pounds (47%) 32 pounds (53%)
Third year: 90 pounds 28 pounds (31%) 62 pounds (69%)
Fourth year: 120 pounds 28 pounds (23%) 92 pounds (77%)
Later: over 1,400 pounds 30 pounds (2%) over 1,400 pounds (98%)
· If we as believers were giving according to proportionate giving many would be giving far in excess of 10 percent.
· Statistically most believers give no more than 3-5%.
· Our motivation for giving should be to receive God’s spiritual blessing and bring glory to God (2 Cor. 9:8-15)
· Our measure for giving is God’s material blessing (1 Cor. 16:2)
· An illustration of proportionate giving:
· Believer A makes $30,000 and gives 10%: $3000.
· Believer B makes $60,000 and gives 10%: $6000.
· Believer B has given twice as much as believer A but this is not proportionately more because believer A has $27,000 left to live on and believer B still has $54,000 left.
· Believer B could give twice as much (20%): $12,000 and still have $48,000 to live on.
· Part of the point of proportionate giving as proposed in the NT is to encourage believers to invest their money in the work of the Lord not in their own pleasure.
· For believer A with a family in 2007 this a fairly tough income to live on.
· But for believer B with the same size family even after giving twice the tithe are able to live reasonably.
· The fact is that God expects us to give to the work of His Kingdom.
· We are to give by his grace; as we commit ourselves to him find ourselves committing to giving (2 Cor. 8:7)
· We are to give in faith knowing he will supply our need (2 Cor. 9:7ff)
· We are to give purposefully after having prayed and planned for it (2 Cor. 9:7)
· We are to give regularly (1 Cor. 16:2)
· We are to give personally; it is for each person and each persons responsibility (1 Cor. 16:2)
· We are to give systematically: we are to have system so that we set money aside (1 Cor. 16:2)
· We are to give to the local church (1 Tim. 5:17-18)
· We are to give to Christian organizations (3 John 5-8)
· We are to give to fellow believers in need (Jam. 2:15-16)
· We are to give to unbelievers in need (Gal. 6:10)
· So the tithe is gone, do not worry about it anymore.
· To give up the tithe does not mean that we do not continue to give.
· Rather what it means is that instead of mindlessly giving a tenth of what God already owns to his work we have to actually contemplate prayerfully our responsibilities financially to him.
· You may pray about it and decide that 10 % is a good place for you at this time.
· You may look at your finances and see that considering what you make you can contribute only 1or 2 percent.
· You may look at what you make and know that you could contribute much more.
· The purpose of this message regarding the nature of the church and giving is not to set a rule but to have each of us look at our hearts.
· How important is the work of the church?
· What is your view on who owns your financial resources?
· Have we succumbed to the world and increased our standard of living unnecessarily?
· The work of the Lord must continue and in our world that takes money.
· It is the call of every believer to examine their hearts and see if what they are giving financially is in keeping what God would want.
· It is not my place to tell you what that is, but I will say this if you are contributing nothing when you know you could give even $5.00 a month then there is a serious problem.
· A battle within us in regards to giving money to the work of the lord is a matter of trust and value.
· Do I trust God that he will take care of me when I give what a feel he has called me to give?
· Do I value his work enough to make his work a priority in the spending of the money given to me?