We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. --Winston Churchill
Our church is currently going through a capital campaign in order to raise money to construct a church building, so it has been a very exciting few weeks in the life of our church. Our pastor has been going through a series concerning the kingdom of God and a Christian's response to money. Since today was the "Commitment Sunday" where we made our pledges for donations, the sermon itself was shorter, but it still was very powerful.
The Scripture reading was taken from 1 Chronicles 29:9-16.
The people of Israel were giving money in order for the temple of God to be built. The Israelites responded not with a sense of duty, or a sense of solemnity, but with utmost joy. They gave wholeheartedly, freely, and joyfully to the Lord. When we give, we should give with joy and with "clarity." Our pastor explained that when we realize clearly who God is, we will not want to hold back on our joy. After receiving the people's gifts for the temple, David said:
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.We should also have clarity about who we are. Who are we, in comparison to the great and mighty God? David says that "our days on earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding." Nothing is ours, everything we have comes from God.
During the service, we recited the first catechism question from the Shorter Catechism: Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We live our lives most meaningfully glorifying God, which results in our dying to self and serving others. Giving should be an outpouring of our love for others, and an opportunity to glorify our Father. It is our privilege to serve. When we give to our spouses, we don't do so out of duty. To do so would be absurd. Even more so it should be like that with our God. Christ gave us the ultimate gift by dying for our sins. We can never come close to matching this gift, but our response should be an outpouring of joy in giving back to our Maker.