In I Chronicles 29, King David surveys the vast storehouse of wealth given by the people of Israel for the building of the temple he is not permitted to build, and he praises the Lord in the presence of the assembly:
“Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD , is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.
I tend to be critical of building big, fancy, expensive church buildings. A new one opened a year ago near where my congregation meets, costing $18 million; members gave $6 million on one Sunday morning. How quick I was to utter a line much like one Judas muttered when perfume anointed the feet of Jesus … the same Jesus who drove moneychangers and sacrificial animals from the courts of a beautiful temple.
Was I really concerned about providing for the poor, or just jealous of the generosity of another fellowship?
Isn’t God capable of blessing me with enough to acknowledge His sovereignty AND provide for the poor?
Shouldn’t I, like David, be expressing my thanks by my giving?