REJOICING in GIVING

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Little did I know as I drove along the road with my car jam packed with disabled dogs and a zillion other things I needed on my hurried errands as I dashed off to the beach for a photo session for an article with a local magazine that God was paying close attention, as He always does mind you, to my rambling thoughts. When my mind took a quick visit to a wish I had that someone would make a personal donation for me specifically since I live on a very low income because of my ministry work and would be grateful for such a blessing, I had no idea that just hours later a friend would do just that. Though she was a bit uncertain about whether God had truly placed it on her heart to slip a generous donation into a loving card, I assured her after I had opened the gift that it absolutely was God. She then told me that she was fairly certain that it was God. Why? Because she was so filled with joy in the giving of the gift.

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The Bible says that God loves a “cheerful giver”, and there is what to many may be a relatively little known chapter in the Old Testament that is a prime example of the blessing that comes as a result of giving with the right – and willing – heart. Less than 24 hours later after God heard the little cry of my heart and answered through my friend’s generosity, I stumbled upon 1 Chronicles 29 in which God makes it abundantly clear that those who give unto the Lord with willing hearts are blessed with utter rejoicing. How many times have I given with the wrong heart, out of obligation, necessity, guilt, whatever? Far too many. And how many times have I truly rejoiced in giving? More and more.

For though I do not have a zillion dollars to give away, I have a heart full of love and compassion, and a life dedicated to full-time ministry with almost constant opportunities to give in one way or another. And I have come to see, as is so clearly delineated in 1 Chronicles 29, that there truly is rejoicing when my giving comes from a willing and surrendered heart. Why? Because when I see giving as an opportunity to love and serve the Lord, to bring Him praise, honor, and glory, and to give unto His Creation as an act of service to Him, how very blessed and joyful I am! A friend once told me she felt she needed to give until it hurt.

I can only imagine she felt led to give to the point there was not an ounce of selfishness or holding back in her. But I would go one step further. Instead of thinking of it as giving until it hurts, I would say this. Give unto the Lord. As 1 Chronicles 29 makes it perfectly clear, everything we have to give is the Lord’s anyway. So who are we to hold any of it back? I, for one, have so much more growing to do in the area of giving. And I rejoice that I am quite sure I will continue to have endless opportunities – not simply to give unto others, but, most importantly, to give unto the Lord!

In 1 Chronicles 29, when King Solomon asked the people who would be willing to join him in giving an offering “for the service of the Lord” as King Solomon fulfilled his calling to build the House of the Lord, they were considered to have a “perfect heart” in this because of their willingness. In this they rejoiced! Are you a cheerful giver? Do you give with a willing heart? Or, do you find yourself holding back from giving  as the Lord leads you to give? When you give unto others, do you see yourself as giving unto the Lord? Do you find yourself rejoicing because of your giving? Or is it time to repent of holding back, and to give with the right heart? 

2Co 9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 

1Ch 29:1  Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God. 
1Ch 29:2  Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. 
1Ch 29:3  Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, 
1Ch 29:4  Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal: 
1Ch 29:5  The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD? 
1Ch 29:6  Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly, 
1Ch 29:7  And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. 
1Ch 29:8  And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. 
1Ch 29:9  Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy. 
1Ch 29:10  Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. 
1Ch 29:11  Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. 
1Ch 29:12  Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. 
1Ch 29:13  Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. 
1Ch 29:14  But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. 
1Ch 29:15  For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. 
1Ch 29:16  O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. 
1Ch 29:17  I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. 
1Ch 29:18  O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee: 
1Ch 29:19  And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision. 
1Ch 29:20  And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king. 
1Ch 29:21  And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings unto the LORD, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel: 
1Ch 29:22  And did eat and drink before the LORD on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the LORD to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest. 
1Ch 29:23  Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. 

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