Text: 1 Chron 29:1-20; 2 Corinthians 8:1-10
This sermon was not prepared for a special Sunday devoted to the church’s finances, but for an ordinary Sunday when our text happened to be all about giving.
How many people are like me? They’ve had it on their minds for some time to review their giving to the work of God, but not quite got round to it.
Here are two very different situations. In the first, King David, right at the end of his earthly life, is passing on the responsibility for building the temple to Solomon, and is holding a fund-raising day.
In the second, the Apostle Paul, concerned about the relief of famine that had aflicted Jewish Christians in Judea, is encouraging his readers in Corinth to follow the example of the believers in Macedonia who had made a wonderful contribution towards this project.
What characteristics of consecrated giving emerge from these two passages?
1. They gave generously. See vv2-5. David gives beyond his obligations. So do the others.
2 Cor 8:2f, ‘Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity…that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.’ Question: am I giving as little as I can get away with, or as much as I am able?
2. They gave devotedly, v3 – ‘in my devotion to the temple of my God.’ Cf. Psa 26:8 – ‘I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells.’
2 Cor 8:5, ‘They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us.’ 2 Cor 6:16, ‘We are the temple of the living God.’ Question: is my giving motivated by devotion to God, his people and his work?
3. They gave willingly, v6. Also verse 17 – ‘All these things have I given willingly.’
2 Cor 8:3f – ‘Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.’ Question: is my giving reluctant, or is it willing?
4. They gave gratefully, v14 – ‘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.’
2 Cor 8:9 – ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ All that I have, and am, is from God. Therefore, it is no pain to give it back. Question: am I mindful, when I give, that I am merely giving back what God has so bounteously given to me?
5. They gave joyfully, v9, ‘the people rejoiced’. V20 – ‘Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the Lord your God.” So the people praised the Lord.”
2 Cor 8:2 – ‘Their overflowing joy…welled up in rich generosity’. Question: Am I a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7)?
6. Theu gave contageously. Why is this passage in the Bible? David, v1, encourages the leaders, v6, who encourage the people, v10. The Chronicler now encourages a new generation.
2 Cor 8:7, ‘See that you also excel in this grace of giving.’ Question: in what ways are we encouraging one another in our giving?
7. They gave graciously. This comes from the closing days of David’s life. Not for David the bitter despair of old age. The Lord had formed in David in godly character: he was a man after God’s own heart.
2 Cor 8:1, ‘the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches’. Also v8.
Question: have a received the grace of God that alone will create in me a generous, devoted, willing, grateful, joyful, heart, one that flows over in contageous giving?
Lord, I want, by your grace, to ascend the ladder of consecrated giving: duty, necessity, privilege, joy.