Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Setting the bar...

It's likely that most of us have heard sermons, talks, podcasts, etc. on giving to the church.  That topic has become somewhat of a stigma for my generation (mid 20's to mid-to-late 30's).  Perhaps it's because we've seen poor stewardship of the church?  Perhaps it's because we know we are being disobedient and should be giving faithfully of our time and resources, but we aren't.  Maybe it's because we think "we could do it better"?  

Whatever the excuse may be, we are still called to give faithfully.  It's a commandment and demonstrated very clearly in Scripture. It's an act of worship.  When we give, we are honored with the opportunity to be a part of God's story and how he is reaching people in our communities and our world.  Here's the thing, God is going to reach people with or without us.  He doesn't need us.  However, he knows the joy that we receive when we do join in the story.  He's basically saying, "I'm going to save these people.  Do you want to be a part of it?"

Today, we'll see that giving is a matter of obedience and leadership.  We'll see where King David gave sacrificially and set the bar by setting the example.  

1 Chronicles 29:1-9 - And David the king said to all the assembly, “Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the LORD God.  So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides the great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble.  Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God.  3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house, and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver.  Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the LORD?"Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work.  They gave for the serve of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron.  And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite.  Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD.  David the king also rejoiced greatly.

I know that’s a long passage, but here are the big takeaways…

The Lord has blessed us greatly.  He has.  No question about it.  He’s blessed us with life, family, money, talents, time, the list could go on and on…and on and on.  God has a great thing going in this world by offering his love and acceptance to those that would receive it.  He’s called us to be a part of that.  When we give willingly of our resources (time, money, talents, etc.) we in turn have a great joy in that.  There is just something in how God has wired us in that we receive joy when we give and when we serve.  That’s why we encourage those inside the church to give and to serve.  It is part of fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ to give back to his church.  By giving, we play a crucial role in helping more people hear about the Gospel of Christ.  

The second takeaway is one of the greatest leadership principles.  You should never ask your people to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself.  David modeled that perfectly in this passage.  He gave sacrificially and then called his people to do the same.  He set the bar by setting the example.  As leaders, that’s what we are called to do.  We lead by setting the example.  Anyone who is on the stage is viewed as a leader.  Like it or not, it’s just a fact.  People see those in a high profile and visual position as someone in leadership.  By simply serving, we are giving faithfully of our time and talents; but are we doing it whole heartedly and joyfully?  As leaders, we should be the first to give and the first to serve.  We should encourage others that see us as leaders to join in God’s story and to experience the joy of giving to God’s cause.  

I pray that God would continue to grow us as leaders and use us to encourage people to give and serve with the talents and resources that he has blessed them with.  Ask God to investigate your life and see if you are giving faithfully in the areas he has called you to.  Pray for the courage to trust God and set the bar by setting the example.

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