This Land is God’s Land…Not “Ours” – thoughts on Stewardship

S (Scripture): 1 Chronicles 29:1 King David said to the entire assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is just an inexperienced young man, and the task is great, for this palace is not for man, but for the Lord God. 2 So I have made every effort to provide what is needed for the temple of my God, including the gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, as well as a large amount of onyx, settings of antimony and other stones, all kinds of precious stones, and alabaster. 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. 4 This includes 3,000 talents of gold from Ophir and 7,000 talents of refined silver for overlaying the walls of the buildings, 5 for gold and silver items, and for all the work of the craftsmen. Who else wants to contribute to the Lord today?”

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…9 The people were delighted with their donations, for they contributed to the Lord with a willing attitude; King David was also very happy…

14 [David praised the Lord, saying:] “But who am I and who are my people, that we should be in a position to contribute this much? Indeed, everything comes from you, and we have simply given back to you what is yours. 15 For we are resident foreigners and nomads in your presence, like all our ancestors; our days are like a shadow on the earth, without security. 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. ”

O (Observation):  Some key stewardship principals lived out by King David, as God’s  people embark on the building of a new and glorious temple for God.   King David wanted to build it, himself, but was told by God that his son, Solomon, would build it.  To support this effort – like a good leader – he decided to give not only from the Israel’s treasury, but also from his personal treasures.  

King David’s generous example gives inspiration to the people to do the same. Good leaders ask their followers to do something that the leader himself or herself is willing to do.  The result: joyful givers. 

Not only does David help his people to know how to give joyfully, but also to recognize that their treasures and their land are not – and never have been – “their” land.  Instead, this is all God’s money and God’s land – and God’s people are but nomads resting in their places for a while, and they are simply temporary stewards of God’s treasures. 

A (Application):  My family is one of the top 3 giving units in our congregation for 2016.   We struggled to get here…but with an attitude such as David’s, and faith that God will see us through, we are here…and we struggle to make sure we can stay here.   It takes faith.   It takes effort.  It takes intentionality.  And even though I’m writing about it, it takes humility.  

I don’t talk about this often, but if David thinks it’s okay to worry about…then maybe it’s okay for me to discuss it here. : )

This is a joyful opportunity to recognize some excellent stewardship principals from David. We are all but nomads…yes, even God’s people.  Whether it’s Israel, North America, Scandinavia, Germany, wherever…we are all but nomads, regardless of our length of our stay.   And those who have been in places before us…some we have displaced…and how so?  In the name of God?  Well, sometimes yes, shamefully so – taking God’s name in vain to declare something “ours.”

We have what we have in this life (land, liberty, money, pursuit of happiness) not for our own selfish sake…but to give God glory and to help others in need through hospitality and generosity.  

By sharing our place in giving to the congregation I serve, in putting our treasures where our hearts are, we are saying to the congregation: this is God’s, not ours, and we trust God will continue to give to us what we need as a family…and trust that provision will come.   

How is your struggle with giving to the church, the community, to neighbors in need?   If you ever want my help to figure out how to make progress in your giving, please let me know.   I’m happy to help, and to keep your information confidential.   Pray on it.  

P (Prayer): Lord, you give us our daily bread.  Help us all to realize this.  Amen.  

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