Chronicles 17, God forbade David to build a temple.
Solomon would build it. If he could not build it, David would at
least prepare for it. In the same way, we are preparing for and
building the temple of the Lord today. In Ephesians
2:19-22, the scripture says we, His church, are the
Lord’s temple. With everything we do, we are striving to add new
stones into this temple and strengthen the ones already here,
anchoring every one to the foundation of the apostles and their
teaching and to the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. David, however,
saw a problem. How were they going to pay for that massive temple?
Chronicles 29, he appealed to the people to underwrite the
temple. Today, we cannot get away from the same problem. How are
we going to pay for it? In just a few weeks, a new year is going
to start. We have determined to make it a year of evangelism,
leadership development and personal spiritual growth. That,
however, takes money. It takes money to provide materials. It
takes money to provide facilities. It takes money to provide for
local evangelists. It takes money to support foreign evangelism.
It takes money to provide relief to God’s children in need.
According to my most recent talk with the elders, we should come
pretty close to meeting our budget this year. What does that mean?
It means if we want to have another year just like this one, we
don’t have to do much different. However, if we want a powerful
year of building the Lord’s temple in Franklin, Tennessee, we
need to raise everything up a notch or five. As we plan our giving
for 2006, specifically notice some lessons about giving to
underwrite the Lord’s work demonstrated in I
“The temple is not
for man, but for the Lord God.”—I
We must understand the purpose behind the work we do. We
are not paying for buildings, salaries, materials or utilities. We
are not offering a bit of benevolence here and there.
We are building the Lord’s Temple. As Hebrews
12:22-24 says, we are bringing people to the sprinkled
blood of Jesus Christ that washes away their sins, adding them
into the body of believers who glorify the Lord God. The
collection is not for men, but for the Lord God.
“Who then is
willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?”—I
As David pleaded with the Israelites, he did not ask them
to dig deep in their pockets. He did not ask them to make a
sizable donation. He did not ask them to pledge a certain
percentage. He asked them to consecrate themselves to the Lord.
Jesus taught this when some Herodians questioned Him about
taxes in Matthew
22:15-22. Jesus asked them whose likeness was imprinted on
the money. “Caesar’s,” they answered. In one of His most
famous repartees, Jesus responded, “Render to Caesar the things
that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” We
know what belongs to Caesar by whose likeness is on it; we know
the same thing about what belongs to God. Remember Genesis
1:26? Who is willing to turn themselves completely over to
“Yours, O Lord, is
the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the
says, “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…” (KJV). That
is, place God on a pedestal. He is to be set apart from all other
things. David’s prayer in I
Chronicles 29:10-13 is a verbalized expression of
sanctifying God. According to I
Chronicles 29:2-4, David had himself given an amazing
amount to the work of the temple. Why? Because he believed God and
God’s work were worth it. He had sanctified them in his heart.
What does God mean to us? What does the work of God mean to
us? Why do people give to the American Cancer Society or the
American Heart Association? Because they believe the work is
important. Often they do so because someone close to them has been
affected by these things. How much more important is God than
these? How much more important is His work of forgiveness?
Everyone we know has been killed by sin? How much should we
sanctify God and the life that comes through accomplishing His
“For we are
sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were…”—I
One of the biggest problems we have with giving is that it
eats into our pocketbooks. It cuts into our stuff. If we give
regularly, we can’t afford as nice of a house, car, clothes or
other goods. Giving may adversely affect our retirement savings.
It will certainly diminish the inheritance our children receive.
With all of these thoughts in mind, we hang on to those dollars,
concerned that giving them to underwrite the Lord’s work will
adversely impact our security in this world.
Here is the newsflash, this world, by definition, is
insecure. Jesus explained this in Matthew
6:19-21. Additionally, no matter how well our money
provides for us throughout this life, we are all going to die and
leave all our stuff right down here. Money may open doors on
earth, but not in heaven as the rich man of Jesus’ parable found
out in Luke
12:16-21. We need to remember our place in this earth and
know the true value of money.
abundance…is from Your hand, and all is Yours.”—I
We too often try to figure out how much of what we have
belongs to God. Is it a set amount? Is it a percentage? How big a
percentage? I have actually discovered the answer to that question
and it is a percentage. God owns 100% and has simply allowed us to
borrow it. He has made us stewards in order to provide a return
for him (cf. Matthew
Further, since all we have comes from God, it stands to
reason when we use His blessings to accomplish His work, He will
provide for us (II
Corinthians 9:6-11). This differs from the fallacious
health and wealth gospel in one fundamental way. The health and
wealth gospel treats giving like an investment. If you give, God
will make a return to you. What Paul actually taught was God
provides blessings for those who use His blessings to accomplish
His good work. When we consecrate God in our hearts and consecrate
ourselves to God, using His blessings to accomplish His work, He
has promised to take care of us and to accomplish His work through
“Since I know, O my
God, that You try the heart and delight in uprightness, I…have
willingly offered all of these things…”—I
We must understand that giving is not just about the
pocketbook. It is about the heart. First, what we give is an
indication of our heart. Whether we like it or not, where we spend
our money says something about our heart. As Matthew
6:21 said, what we treasure is where our heart will be.
What we are willing to spend money on and give money to
demonstrates what we value and where our heart is.
Additionally, how we give is a matter of the heart. David
gave willingly, not grudgingly or out of necessity. He gave
because He wanted to be a part of God’s work. Additionally, he
rejoiced because the entire multitude gave willingly. We must
remember God tests the heart and give accordingly. Do we really
want to be part of God’s work?
“…a perfect heart
to keep Your commandments, Your testimonies and Your statutes, and
to do them all, and to build the temple, for which I have made
After we have given, we must follow through on the work.
Obviously, in this particular situation, David was not going to
build the temple. The Lord had forbidden that. However, he was
concerned that all of this preparation would be for naught.
Therefore, he prayed God lead Solomon to actually do the work.
If we are going to give properly, we must understand we are
not done working when the plate has passed. We have provided for
the building of the temple, we must get busy and build it. We must
do our part and encourage others to do theirs, praying God’s
hand will be with us.
This is the time of the year when so many are trying to
show how much they love each other by giving and giving and
giving. The question for us is how much do we love God and His
work? We have to ask ourselves the same question David asked of
the Israelites. “Who then is willing to consecrate himself this
day to the Lord?”
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ