“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
1 Chronicles 29:14
Out of context, this verse might not make a lot of sense. To set the scene, let me explain what is going on in the story when King David says these words. Before he died and his son, Solomon, became king, David began making preparations for Solomon to build God a temple. It was a massive project that would build a house for God, ornate, beautiful, and strong. To do so, a great deal of materials were required, and expensive materials at that. David supplied much of it out of his own wealth, but also asked for contributions from the people to be able to build the temple. The people responded generously and all that was needed was provided. As David praised God for this, he prayed the words from our verse above.
These words can teach us a lot about the way that we give back of our own wealth and material possessions. I am often prone to thinking “who am I to be giving generously, I don’t have much to give.” But David thought just the opposite, saying “who am I…that [I] should be able to give as generously as this?” The difference is subtle, but huge. Whereas I have a tendency to see charitable giving as a burden, David sees it as a great honor. He is humbled by the fact that he has anything at all worth giving. That’s the mindset that leads to joyful giving.
When we give of our time, money, or materials reluctantly, we do so not out of humility but out of obligation. When we consider ourselves unable or unfit to give, we fail to recognize just how much that God has given us. David understands this and says that everything he, and all of us, have belong to God in the first place. He says we’re simply putting back into his hands the things that he first gave us. That perspective changes everything.
Imagine you’re shopping for a car, and you walk into a dealership. A salesman comes over to you and hands you a check in the amount of the new car you want. Would you take that check and try to buy the parts and build yourself a car with it? Or would you not gladly give the check back so that you could then have the car?
It’s similar with the wealth God gives us. He hands it to us, and he lets us decide where we want to invest it. In ourselves? In material goods? Or in Him? When we give it back to him, he is able and faithful to give us all that we need in return.
Help me to be generous, like David and the Israelites building the temple. Thank you for blessing me with enough wealth and materials to both live, and also give back. I trust that you’re able to do more with my money than I ever could, and I pray that you would bless it to the glory of your Kingdom.
In Jesus’ Name,