Wednesday, January 15, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 26: Wisely giving God's abundance

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 26, January 15, 2014
Readings: Psalm 25, Genesis 24, 1 Chronicles 29:1-22, Luke 17:11-37

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post amount money, comes another post But from an entirely different time, place and perspective. Yet, interestingly enough, God weaves His perspective and truth throughout the entire Bible, so whether from King David or Jesus, the message stays the same. And the message is good.

David's life goal when he became king of Israel was to build a temple for the Lord. All this time, God's presence (the Ark of the Covenant) had dwelt in a tent. David, understandably, felt guilty that he was in a palace while the Lord was in a tent. But God instructed him that it was not David who would build the temple, but his son Solomon.

However, at the end of his life, David passes the torch to Solomon. And if he can't build it, at least he can bankroll it! And so he gathers the leaders of Israel from far and wide, and all commit to giving vast sums of gold, silver and other valuables for the building of the temple. Let's get numerical: A talent of gold (their measurement) was about 75 pounds in weight. Together, the nation of Israel gave 15,000 talents of gold, or 1.1 million pounds of gold. Value today: More than 2 billion dollars. Let's join in this amazing scene of giving:

Therefore, David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: "Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever." (1 Chronicles 29:10)

"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own we have given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you." (1 Chronicles 29:14-18)

David knows the truth, and speaks it before the entire assembly: the abundance is all from God, and is all God's. David didn't give from his abundance, he gave from God's. It was never his to own in the first place. But as God gave money, power and blessings to David, and the people of Israel, they in turn gave it back, freely and joyously. I cannot imagine the sight of that much giving. That much faith.

And the beauty of this story is how it applies to us today. Don't misunderstand, we are not called to give billions for the construction of a temple. Because of Jesus' work on the cross, we are the temple. Those of us who call Jesus our Lord, who serve Him, are the temple of God. God calls us to give freely, joyously to the beautification of His people, His temples. Share your abundance that God has given you. Bless our brothers and sisters who live in tents, but could live in splendor with the King. Build yourself and others up to be shining examples of the God who lives within us, a light to all the nations for His glory.

Friends, God has given to us abundantly. We live in palaces, we have much. Let's make sure we make our life's work this: giving the King of Glory beautiful temples to call home.

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