The Point That I Had To Cut From My Message

Most Sunday mornings when I am getting ready to preach, there is something that must be cut from the sermon due to time restraints. I’d argue that that’s not always a bad thing. In other words, sometimes cutting a paragraph or two helps focus the sermon making it clearer and more understandable.

This past Sunday when I preached on 1 Chronicles 29:10-20 was no exception. That morning it was clear to me that something needed to be thrown overboard. I thought that I would use this forum to share the point that I didn’t have time to share in my message.

Let me reset the scene for you especially if you weren’t with us last Sunday. 1 Chronicles 29 records David’s generous and sacrificial gift to the construction of the temple. We learn that he didn’t give out of duty or obligation. He didn’t give grudgingly or through clenched teeth. Instead we read that he, along with the leaders, gave freely, willingly, wholeheartedly, and with great joy (v. 9). Now the obvious question is, “What do they know that we don’t know or at least too often forget?” To answer that question we looked at David’s prayer (v. 10-20) and found 4 beliefs that motivate us to be generous and sacrificial in our giving: Everything we own belongs to God, We are stewards not owners, We have tasted grace, and Life is short.

If I had time, I would have included a 5th belief: A generous and sacrificial giver believes that their giving is a test.

1 Chronicles 29:17 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.

The apostle Paul uses the same language when discussing giving…

2 Corinthians 8:8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.

In what sense is giving a test? I think that giving is a test in that it reveals our hearts in a way that almost nothing else does.

The reality is that it is easy to say that we trust God to be our satisfaction and security. It’s the doing that’s the hard thing. Every morning I say to myself that I’m not going to eat junk food that day. I’m really good at the “saying” part. It’s the doing part that I’m not so great at. When 3:00 comes along and I’m tearing open my second bag of M&Ms, it’s rather obvious that I didn’t do what I said. You could say that I failed the test.

But how do I know if I am truly looking to God for my satisfaction and security? Well I think that both David and Paul are saying that giving is a test that reveals our what our heart trusts in. The more that we are giving generously and sacrificially, the more we are probably banking on God. And of course the reverse is true as well. So giving is a test because it reveals whether our heart is trusting in God or in something else. What is the test of giving revealing about your heart?

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