Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly:
“O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. 12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.
13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! 14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 15 We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.” I Chronicles 29:10-15
As a follower of Jesus, we understand that we are seeking to imitate the teachings of Jesus in every area of our lives. When we inject the teachings of Jesus into our lives, then every area of our lives becomes better. Therefore, if we follow the instructions of Jesus in dealing with our relationships, then our relationships are better, healthier, and life-giving. If we follow the teachings of Jesus dealing with faith, then our faith is stronger and more perfected. If we follow the teachings of Jesus and the Holy Scriptures with our wealth and resources, then we will have less fear and more generosity.
King David is an interesting character in the old testament. He is a man of significant flaws and even greater faith. Through his life story, we get to see all of the good and the bad play out. Eventually, David reached a point in life when he’d arrived. All of his enemies had been defeated, all the battles had been won, and now Israel was the superpower of its time. In short, David was rich, and he knew it. As he looked back on his life, he could see the hand of God with him in every battle, every test, and even in his most significant failure; the hand of God was there offering mercy. David’s response is to build a temple to God so that it would be a type of permanent home for God. David allocated money from the national treasury and even donated a large portion of his own money for the project. (Scholars put David’s personal contribution at about 14 billion.) When he announced the plan to build to the Israelites, they were excited, and money started to pour in. Amid all this euphoria, David prayed a prayer recorded for us in I Chronicles 29:10-15 that gives us insight into his heart and perspective regarding life, God, and the purpose of money.
If we listen closely, we can tell that David was looking back over all that God had taken Israel through, and he concluded that this story was not the story of David, but this is the story of the greatness of our God. As far as David was concerned, everything belonged to God. David’s perspective was that God was not only the owner of all material things but the source of the things that money can’t buy, like honor, power, and strength. David says that everything belongs to God, comes from God, and is dispensed by God. He proclaimed that God owns everything anyway and that he had simply been in charge of managing it for this moment. David’s prayer suggests it’s not about giving; it’s about living. We are not honoring God with a percentage but with all we possess. When you view your possessions that way, it changes everything, and our life becomes better.