By Russ Ramsey
Right after David commissions Solomon as Israel’s next king, we come to an important text that teaches us about God’s design for stewardship. David has just taken a collection to build the temple. Years earlier, David built the king’s palace, and this caused David to struggle over the thought of living in a lavish palace while the ark of the Lord dwelled in a tent.
Would this make you feel guilty if you were in David’s shoes? Our reading from 1 Chronicles 17:8–9 last week gave us a glimpse into the Lord’s logic, as God tells David, “I will make a name for you like that of the greatest on the earth. I will designate a place for my people Israel and plant them, so that they may live there and not be disturbed again.” God’s purpose was to establish David as king—to bring this blessing of strength and stability to His people. God was more interested in building a strong kingdom than a glorious temple.
This gives us an important principle concerning God and money: God does not use money for the mere purpose of accumulating wealth, but to accomplish His divine purposes to call His people to Himself. In our reading today, we find ideas on how to view and steward our money in 1 Chronicles 29.
First, God owns everything. 1 Chronicles 29:11 tells us that everything in heaven and earth is His. We must hold all material resources loosely in this life because nothing is our own, and yet we know how easily we can look to material things for our sense of identity and value.
Second, everything we have came from Him. Verse 12 tells us that wealth and honor come from Him. “Riches and honor” are an all-encompassing couplet covering the money we already have (wealth), and that part of us which gives us the ability to acquire money (honor). Our lineage which brings inheritance came from Him. Our skills, talents, abilities, and savvy also come from Him. All we have and all we could ever acquire is from Him.
Third, God retains ownership, and this makes us stewards. Verse 12 goes on to say that God is still the ruler of all things.
Fourth, we must then regard all we spend, save and give as a steward’s privilege. Verse 14 tells us the ability to give to the Lord is a privilege, just as much as the ability to purchase or save. The fact that we have anything at all is because God has entrusted His resources to us. Therefore, when we give, we ought to be humbled by the fact that we have been given stewardship over resources He is pleased to use for the strengthening of His kingdom.
It is a humbling thing to be in a position to give our resources away for the work of God’s Kingdom (v.16). May the Lord give us a generosity of spirit and open-handed posture when we consider how we direct the resources that flow through our lives for the sake of His name.