1 Chronicles 29:1-9 – Practice It So You Can Preach It!

Posted: June 24, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 29:1-9

Gifts for Building the Temple

Opening Illustration/Comments

Have you often wondered why it is that pastors rarely preach on tithing and generosity to the work of the Lord? There’s the age old idea that it is a touchy subject to address with church members in sermons. Preachers like to do a daring bombing raid during a giving talk prior to the offering time but most are skiddish about an all out ground assault of a sermon series on putting God first in our finances. Then, there’s maybe a deeper issue, how are pastors doing in the area of tithing and generosity to the churches that they lead? It’s hard to preach about being obedient to the Lord in our finances and putting the Lord first in our finances if we, as pastors, are not doing it ourselves. We must practice it if we going to preach it. Here, we see David setting the example for his leadership team as well as for the nation of Israel. If the leadership team and the nation see David being generous, it’s sure bet that they will think about when it was time to set aside 10% of their crops and income to the Lord. What they saw too was that David gave his very best to the Lord, not his leftovers or no longer needed items. As you read through the list of personal wealth items that he gave to the Temple, it was no list of what he had stored in the back of his garage. It was his best stuff.

We cannot stand in the pulpit and encourage or admonish our congregations concerning putting God first in our finances if we do not do it ourselves. This is one area of obedience to the Lord that I am kind of passionate about. Elena and I have given 10% or more of our income since probably 2009 and it has made a significant change in how we view our finances. The real blessing of tithing is that it reorients your priorities. Instead of working a gift to the church in among your secular purchases and priorities, we give God right of the top of what we make. We design our finances so that we can live off of 90% or less of what we have in income. It really made us ask the question about always having to have the new this and the new that and keeping up with the Joneses. It is better to us now to have things that are fully paid for than it is for us to have new things and the debts that go with them. We relish the breathing room we have in our budget. It allows us to not only tithe to our church but also to be generous to individuals and organizations in need as well. Tithing definitely led to a mindset change about money and what God’s place in it is. Thus, in January 2021, when I begin a sermon series on putting God first in our finances at my church, I will be able to do so with an unfettered, unrestrained heart because I am practicing what I will be preaching.

That’s the idea that came to mind this morning as I read through 1 Chronicles 29:1-9. With that idea in mind (of the leader of God’s people setting the example when it comes to generosity), let’s read the passage now:

Scripture Passage

Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord God. 2 With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God—gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise,[a] stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble—all of these in large quantities. 3 Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple: 4 three thousand talents[b] of gold (gold of Ophir) and seven thousand talents[c] of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings, 5 for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the craftsmen. Now, who is willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord today?”

6 Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. 7 They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents[d] and ten thousand darics[e] of gold, ten thousand talents[f] of silver, eighteen thousand talents[g] of bronze and a hundred thousand talents[h] of iron. 8 Anyone who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the Lord in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that David gave generously from his personal fortune to the Temple. He encouraged others to follow his example and they willingly did so. Both the Tabernacle and the Temple were built from the voluntary gifts of the people. Like Davide, we can acknowledge that all we have comes from God. We may have David’s wealth, but we can develop his same willingness to give of what we have, generously. It is not the amount that we give that counts with God, but our willingness to be obedient to Him in this regard. As well, we see that the leaders of the tribes and other leaders of the people of Israel displayed a right attitude toward their money and possessions by willingly giving to God’s work. This attitude is described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully” and gives without reservation. When we are generous in a spirit of thanksgiving to the Lord, our attitude can inspire others to do the same.

Life Application

Church leaders need to know their pastor is “in this thing.” Few things are more powerful than putting your money where your mouth is. Saying yes to God’s call to ordained ministry is not a discipleship exemption when it comes to tithing. Pastors should begin their careers, even as they are working for a pittance of reward as a student or part-time pastor, with tithing. It must be a part of their beginning financial habits when they embark on a pastoral career. a church can’t properly address God’s resources without a pastor leading from the pulpit and pen. I truly think many pastors don’t preach it because they don’t live it. Failing to proclaim the whole Gospel because you aren’t willing to tithe is malpractice. It is equivalent to not preaching on sex outside of marriage because you are being tempted to stray or you are, in fact, straying from your marriage. We don’t preach on the sins that we are unrepentantly participating in, typically.

Every church must have a critical mass of tithers to sustain the church and provide that base of security for the daily operations of the church as well as its ministries. If the pastor does not lead in this area, that critical mass of tithers may not form. Even though a pastor’s contributions to the church are confidential and are not discussed outside the finance office of the church, those same confidants who manage the contribution records are often in leadership positions in the church. They may not reveal your extent of contributions but they can say whether you are generous to your church or not. They may not say in those words but they may hold back approvals on matters because they simply do not think you practice what you preach when it comes to your own finances.

Let’s not kid ourselves. The tithe is still in play. We can play theological gymnastics about how the tithe does not apply to the New Testament era in which we live, but that is simply a misread of the totality of Scripture. Paul did not say that we no longer need to tithe. His was a good Jew from birth and tithing was the minimum of behavior. As a Christian, he was not saying that we didn’t have to tithe. He was saying that we should give in a spirit of thanksgiving because of what Christ has done for us and quibbling over the percentage is simply not reflective of thanksgiving. He would stand here and tell you that 10%, the tithe, should simply be our starting point. We should cheerfully give more than that because of the grace shown us through Jesus Christ. Additionally, Jesus Christ himself said that he did not come here to abolish the law but to fulfill its purpose. Thus, the non-ceremonial parts of the law are still binding on us as God’s people today, including tithing.

Thus, let’s be like David. Set the example. Do it so you can preach about it.

Amen and Amen.

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