When it comes to money and using it well, i believe this is something that relates to everyone, not exclusively Christ followers. But, writing as a Christ follower, i will give Biblical backing for the things i am wanting to share here, as i believe they are rooted in God’s heart for humanity which looks very different to when we just let mankind get on with it by themselves.
Two powerful stories comes to mind when i wrestle with the question of ‘How to follow God well in a way that involves my money.’
And interestingly enough they both come from chapters 21 of their respective books:
First up is a story in Chronicles where King David has given in to the temptation of the devil and disobeyed God and the nation of Israel is being punished severely as a result. The story ends with David making an offering to God and the plague is halted. You can find the whole story in 1 Chronicles 21, but look at these three verses near the end:
22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to theLord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”
23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”
24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
Then in Luke 21, Jesus is hanging in the temple with His followers and this little interaction occurs:
1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
i like how Jesus sums up the attitude of the rich, when He says, ‘All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth.’ The Message paraphrase says it like this: All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!”
Offerings they will never miss vs. All she had to live on
And David sums it up with his statement of, I will not sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
In fact, the same story exists in 2 Samuel 24 and this time David says, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
We see a similar story acted out in Genesis 4 with the offerings of Cain and Abel. Abel gives of his absolute best while Cain gives a less enthusiastic offering. The story ends in murder. And interestingly enough it is the one who kept the best for himself and not the one who gave of his best [and thus had less for himself] who ends up doing the killing.
Does our giving cost us? There is Trust involved in this. There is Sacrifice. There is Community.
Or do we ensure that we are comfortable first and have everything we need [and everything we want] and then see what is left and give a small portion of that? Or none at all?
I will not offer worship [sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings] that costs me nothing.
For those of you who are part of a Sunday congregation church, is this possibly a question that could be extended to the community you worship with? Are you at the place you are at on a Sunday because of what it does for you, or because of what you can offer the people there? Or possibly a bit of both. This might be something to think more deeply about [especially if those people all look like you].
Let’s give good and generous gifts.