THE PRIVILEGE AND JOY OF GIVING TO THE LORD

 BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO

“O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you have already given us!” (1 Chronicles 29:13-14 NLT).

Another word for privilege in the context of this message is a special honour. David understood that it is a privilege, a special honour, to give to God. He knew that when a man gives to God it doesn’t make God richer, wealthier, or better. He said earlier in verses 11 and 12 of 1 Chronicles 29, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Riches and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and it is at your discretion that people are made great and given strength” (NLT).

So David believed that it was unwise to be stingy towards God who is the owner of what is in our possession. He owns everything; He has only given it to you to hold in trust for Him without denying you the privilege of enjoying it, after all, the ox that treads the corn should not be kept from eating as it treads (Deuteronomy 25:4). But the fact remains that God owns everything on earth.

Talking to the king of Sodom, Abram described God as “The LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:22 NKJV). He owns everything. 1 Corinthians 10:26 says, “For ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it’” (NLT). God says in Psalm 50:10-12, “For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. Every bird of the mountains and all the animals of the field belong to me. If I were hungry, I would not mention it to you, for all the world is mine and everything in it” (NLT).

There is nothing we can give to Him that He doesn’t have, and there is nothing we genuinely have that we didn’t receive from Him. “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7  NKJV). Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (NKJV).

If you understand that it is a privilege to give to God, and not a burden, you will give to God willingly, voluntarily, generously, and joyfully. And even the pastor will not have to struggle with the people, manipulate them or cajole them to give to God. He will teach them the principle of Christian giving and leave them to give or not to give. He will not make giving to look like a levy or tax on people or gambling.

Abraham’s giving

Abraham understood that it was a privilege to give to God so when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac, as painful as it was being a child he waited for 25 years to get, he went to sacrifice him (Genesis 22:1-19). But God was merely testing him to see if he feared Him. Just as Abraham was about to slaughter Isaac, the angel of the LORD called Abraham and said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:12 NKJV).

Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son, because he knew that though God gave Isaac to him, the child was still God’s possession. Can God ask you back what He gave to you? How willingly can you give back to God what He has given you? And for fearing God and not withholding Isaac from Him, see what God did for Abraham: “This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your beloved son, I swear by my own self that I will bless you richly. I will multiply your descendants into countless millions, like the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. They will conquer their enemies, and through your descendants, all the nations of the earth will be blessed — all because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:15-19 NLT).

Did you see that? God enlarged the covenant He had earlier made with him. Those who’re stingy towards God cheat themselves; they rob themselves of the blessing that would have followed. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (NKJV). Jesus said in Luke 12:21, “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God” (NLT).

Generous and joyful giving by David and the people

In our introductory text (1 Chronicles 29:13-14), David considered the glorious name of God and regarded himself and his people unworthy or unqualified to give to God ordinarily, if not that God had just given them the privilege to do so. “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you have already given us!” (1 Chronicles 29:13-14 NLT). That means you should seize any opportunity to give to God and stop grumbling.

David uttered this statement after he had donated his private treasures of gold and silver towards the building of the Temple in addition to all the building materials he prepared as the king, and he had challenged the people to follow his example. This was despite the fact that God had told David he was not the one to build a temple for him. 1 Chronicles 29:1-5 says, “Then King David turned to the entire assembly and said, ‘My son Solomon, whom God has chosen to be the next king of Israel, is still young and inexperienced. The work ahead of him is enormous, for the Temple he will build is not just another building — it is for the LORD God himself! Using every resource at my command, I have gathered as much as I could for building the Temple of my God. Now there is enough gold, silver, bronze, iron, and wood, as well as great quantities of onyx, other precious stones, costly jewels, and all kinds of fine stone and marble. And now because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving all of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple.   I am donating more than 112 tons of gold from Ophir and over 262 tons of refined silver to be used for overlaying the walls of the buildings and for the other gold and silver work to be done by the craftsmen. Now then, who will follow my example? Who is willing to give offerings to the LORD today?” (NLT). 

What was the motivation for David’s generosity? David said it was because of his devotion to the Temple of his God. That was why he gave all of his private treasures of gold and silver towards making the construction of the building a reality in addition to the building materials he had already collected for the Temple in his capacity as king as recorded in1 Chronicles 22:14-16: “I have worked hard to provide materials for building the Temple of the LORD — nearly four thousand tons of gold, nearly forty thousand tons of silver, and so much iron and bronze that it cannot be weighed. I have also gathered lumber and stone for the walls, though you may need to add more. You have many skilled stonemasons and carpenters and craftsmen of every kind available to you. They are expert goldsmiths and silversmiths and workers of bronze and iron. Now begin the work, and may the LORD be with you” (NLT).

But David didn’t stop at this, as we’ve seen. Because of his devotion to the Temple of his God, he gave all of his private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction of the Temple and challenged the people to follow his example which they did. 1 Chronicles 29:6-9 says, “Then the family leaders, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the generals and captains of the army, and the king’s administrative officers all gave willingly. For the construction of the Temple of God, they gave almost 188 tons of gold, 10,000 gold coins, about 375 tons of silver, about 675 tons of bronze, and about 3,750 tons of iron. They also contributed numerous precious stones, which were deposited in the treasury of the house of the LORD under the care of Jehiel, a descendant of Gershon. The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD, and King David was filled with joy” (NLT). What generous giving!

David demonstrated integrity in leadership. He showed a good example, and the people saw in him a leader they could follow. Both David and the people were full of joy after giving – it wasn’t the leader alone that was happy, that so much had been gathered; the people did not have the feeling of being defrauded. No. There was no post-giving cognitive dissonance – a feeling of unease or regret after one has given, or giver’s remorse.

Among other questions, Samuel, in 1 Samuel 12:3, asked the Israelites, “whom have I defrauded?” (ASV). So that he could restore it to them. The people answered, “Thou hast not defrauded us” (verse 4 ASV).

Under David, “The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD” (1 Chronicles 29:9). David was also full of joy. That is how it should be.  2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully” (NLT). They considered it a privilege, a special honour, to give to God so they gave willingly, voluntarily, generously, and joyfully. That should be your attitude.

When people’s gifts surpass the need 

Also, under Moses’ leadership, the people apparently considering it a privilege to give to God, gave willingly, voluntarily, cheerfully, and bountifully towards the building of the tabernacle.  According to the account in Exodus 36:1-7, the people’s giving was so enormous that Moses had to stop them, They gave more than what was needed. “So Moses told Bezalel and Oholiab to begin the work, along with all those who were specially gifted by the LORD. Moses gave them the materials donated by the people for the completion of the sanctuary. Additional gifts were brought each morning. But finally the craftsmen left their work to meet with Moses. ‘We have more than enough materials on hand now to complete the job the LORD has given us to do!’ they exclaimed. So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: ‘Bring no more materials! You have already given more than enough.’ So the people stopped bringing their offerings. Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project” (Exodus 36:2-7 NLT). Such giving is rare today in the body of Christ. It is either the fault of the leaders or the people or both. We need to examine ourselves and amend our ways.

Joyful surplus contributions by the leaders and the people

During the repair of the house of the LORD in the reign of King Joash of Judah, the people gave joyfully. 2 Chronicles 24:10 says, “Then all the leaders and all the people rejoiced, brought their contributions, and put them into the chest until all had given” (NKJV).

Verse 11 adds that the money gathered was in abundance;   the people gave bountifully such that at the completion of the project there was excess money! “So the workmen labored, and the work was completed by them; they restored the house of God to its original condition and reinforced it. When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada; they made from it articles for the house of the LORD, articles for serving and offering, spoons and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada” (verses 13-14).

When the repair of the house of the LORD was completed, they still had unspent money, which was used to do other things in the house of God. That is not a common experience today. In some places, the completion of church building projects is kept on hold because of inadequate finance or if the projects are completed, there are still bills to be settled.  That was not what happened during King Joash’s reign.

Enough to eat and plenty left

As part of his reforms, Hezekiah commanded the people, who dwelt in Jerusalem, to contribute support for the priests and the Levites so that they might devote themselves to the Law of the LORD (2 Chronicles 31:4). The people obeyed him, and there was an abundant contribution, and the priest testified to Hezekiah that since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, they had had enough to eat and had plenty left.  Verses 7-10 say, “In the third month they began laying them in heaps, and they finished in the seventh month. And when Hezekiah and the leaders came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD and His people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest, from the house of Zadok, answered him and said, ‘Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and have plenty left, for the LORD has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance’” (NKJV). The people must have considered it a privilege to give to God in obedience to His word.

Solomon’s generous sacrifices

Let us also look at Solomon’s generous sacrifice to God after he became king.  He offered a thousand burnt offerings to the LORD and He appeared to him in a dream by night telling him to ask what he should give him (1 Kings 3:4, 2 Chronicles 1:6). A thousand burnt offering! That was huge.  Prior to that, the Bible said Solomon loved the LORD (verse 3). That must have moved him to offer this generous sacrifice.  God gave Solomon what he asked for and what he didn’t even ask for (verses 6-14).

Also recorded in the Bible is another instance of sacrifice to God by Solomon and the Israelites at the dedication of the temple.  “Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices to the LORD. Solomon sacrificed peace offerings to the LORD numbering 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. And so the king and all Israel dedicated the Temple of the LORD. That same day the king dedicated the central area of the courtyard in front of the LORD’s Temple. He offered burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of peace offerings there, because the bronze altar in the LORD’s presence was too small to handle so many offerings” (1 Kings 8:62-64 NLT).

Did you notice in that passage that Solomon had to offer all the offerings in the courtyard because the bronze altar in the presence of the LORD was too small to hold all the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of peace offerings? Only those who consider it a privilege to give to the LORD would give this type of offerings.

Earlier in his reign, as we’ve seen, Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings to the LORD. But at the dedication of the temple, he offered twenty-two thousand bulls and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep!  It was not surprising that the LORD appeared to him a second time. But He didn’t offer his offerings to the LORD because He wanted Him to give him something in particular. He didn’t do it so as to reap any particular harvest.

Nevertheless, the Lord cannot overlook seeds. The law of sowing and reaping works. It is no respecter of person! Seeds are a major determinant of harvests. If you desire a harvest, sow, and if you desire a bountiful harvest, sow bountifully. But never see your seed as payment for the Lord to do anything for you. That will be an error!

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 says, “Remember this — a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, ‘Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.’ For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God” (NLT).

Make no excuse for not giving       

Don’t excuse yourself from giving to God because of financial hardship. Whatever is making you not to give is your enemy. Consider it a privilege to give to Him.  The Corinthian church excelled in other gifts and graces, but not in giving, and Paul urged them to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7).

He informed them about the Macedonian church, which first gave themselves to God and to the apostles and despite their hardship insisted on giving towards alleviating the suffering of fellow believers in Jerusalem. “Now I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia. Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem. Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us for whatever directions God might give them” (2 Corinthians 8:1-5 NLT).

What should give you the joy to give to God

1.You’re manifesting the character of your Father. You should look like your Father. God created you in His own image, and God is the greatest giver. He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45-46). Giving is emulating God, your Father.

2. You are obeying the word of God to give. His Word says none should appear before God empty-handed (Exodus 34:20). According to Jesus, it’s more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Jesus also says, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving — large or small — it will be used to measure what is given back to you” (Luke 6:38 NLT). So giving is obeying God’s Word. “Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me” (Exodus 19:5 NLT).

3. You’re demonstrating your love for God. Love always gives. God showed His love to humanity and gave His Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world (John 3:16). If God could give His Son because of love, you should also be able to give to Him generously to show your love.

4. You’re helping to advance the Kingdom of God. For instance, the money that is given towards the preaching of the gospel or sponsoring of missionaries directly impacts the Kingdom of God. The Bible says some women, including Mary Magdalene, Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager, and Susanna, contributed from their resources to support Jesus and His disciples (Luke 8:2-3).

5. You’re helping to meet the need in the house of God and in the lives of others, especially fellow believers. Paul said, “For you see, the believers in Greece have eagerly taken up an offering for the Christians in Jerusalem, who are going through such hard times. They were very glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the wonderful spiritual blessings of the Good News from the Jewish Christians, they feel the least they can do in return is help them financially” (Romans 15:26-27 NLT). Having the privilege of being used by God to contribute to meeting the needs of fellow saints in Jerusalem gave the believers in Greece joy.

Also, Paul told the Corinthians the implication of their gifts to the needy Christians in Jerusalem, “And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God. So two good things will happen — the needs of the Christians in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanksgiving to God. You will be glorifying God through your generous gifts. For your generosity to them will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ” (2 Corinthians 9:11-13 NLT).  Proverbs 19:17 says, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD — and he will repay you!” (NLT).

6. You’re showing your appreciation to God. The psalmist asks, “What can I offer the LORD for all he has done for me?” (Psalm 116:12 NLT). Of course, you can praise the Lord in songs, words, and different gestures. But giving is also another way to show appreciation to God. Nobody can pay God back for what He has done for him, but everyone should show gratitude to Him, and this should be done with joy.

7. Your giving is not a waste. Your giving is a seed you are sowing, and there is harvest for you. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6 NKJV). But it must come from your heart. You must not give grudgingly or of necessity; God loves a cheerful giver (verse 7).

The disciples called the alabaster oil, a very costly fragrant oil, that woman poured on the head of Jesus a waste as it might have been sold for a certain amount and the money given to the poor. But Jesus asked them why they were troubling the woman. Jesus said she had done good work for Him. “For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Matthew 26:11-13 NKJV).

Conclusion: God is the owner of everything you have. He doesn’t lack anything, and He cannot become richer. Consider it a privilege to give to Him. You cannot pay Him to do anything for you or pay Him for what He has done for you. Give to the Lord willingly, voluntarily, generously, and joyfully. Don’t deny yourself the privilege and joy of giving to the Lord. Give, not in competition with anyone, but give according to your ability. Ezra 2:68-69 says, “Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses, when they came to the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God, to erect it in its place: According to their ability, they gave to the treasury for the work sixty-one thousand gold drachmas, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly garments” (NKJV).

Please take note of the phrase, “According to their ability. God knows what He has given you, so give according to your ability. This was the practice in the early church. Acts 11:29 says, “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea” (KJV). See that phrase again: “according to his ability.” You shall not miss your reward in Jesus’ name.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org