We all like to be around generous people. But are we generous ourselves? How do we instill a culture of giving rather than one of receiving? The passage I want to look at addresses this issue. After all the wars were ended, King David wanted to build a permanent temple for God but he was stopped. Instead, his son Solomon would be the one to build it. David, like any good father would, prepared the blueprints and materials needed for the temple in advance. After collecting some of the materials, David donated more from his personal bank account. He said:
Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God…
1 Chronicles 29:3 ESV
A leader sets the example by giving first. He cannot ask his people to give if he does not do it himself. This is an important leadership principle: Never ask someone to do what you are not willing to do yourself. If you want your people to love, you need to be loving first. If you desire honesty, you got to display honesty first. After David donated freely, he appealed to the leaders of his people to give. What was their response?
Then the leaders of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work.
1 Chronicles 29:6 ESV
Note the word “then”. After the leader (David) gave, then his people willingly gave. Leadership guru, John Maxwell, taught the Law of The Lid. The law says in essence, “A follower can only rise up to the leadership level of the leader, not higher.” Since David’s leadership lid was high, the people were able to raise their personal level too. I know a church where the members are generous in their giving, whether contributing to missions, buying lunch, or driving someone home. Why? Their pastor is extremely generous. People learn from their leader. What is the result of generosity?
Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord . David the king also rejoiced greatly.
1 Chronicles 29:9 ESV
Everyone rejoiced. Generosity by leaders and his people leads to joy because they gave willingly and freely to the Lord. God loves a cheerful giver. St. Paul says:
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 ESV
If you’re not cheerful, don’t give! God won’t be pleased. Examine if your love of money is more than your love of God and people. Why should we be generous? David provides the answer in his magnificent prayer:
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.”
1 Chronicles 29:14 ESV
David realised everything he has doesn’t belong to him. It all came from God and belongs to God. We are stewards of God’s money. It isn’t ours to spend! You are a steward, and God wants you to be faithful with his money. Faithfulness doesn’t mean stinginess but generosity to bless others in need. I’m still learning this powerful lesson by missionary Oswald J. Smith – God is no man’s debtor. You can’t outgive God. Be generous today!