GIVING IT ALL YOU’VE GOT SERMON SERIES
MAN’S BEST SPEND
NOVEMBER 6, 1994
“Attention, Kmart shoppers, attention, Kmart shoppers we have a blue light special on aisle 26 on ladies handbags. A blue light special on aisle 26 on ladies handbags.” As the Kmart shoppers see the blue light reflected throughout the giant store, packs of frenzied females with their shopping carts in front of them, bulldoze their way to aisle 26 to try to secure that beautiful purse that will work for every occasion. Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, TJ Maxx, Sams Wholesale Club. When I say the names of those stores, what do you think about? You think about bargains. Savings. Getting the most for your money. Let’s face it. People these days are obsessed with spending their money in the best way possible. That is why outlet malls and discount stores have exploded throughout our country.
If you are going to spend your money, I think it is a great investment to spend it in these discount malls and stores. However, the Bible tells us the absolute best way to spend our money. It can be summed up in a two-word phrase: sacrificial giving. Man’s best spend is sacrificial giving. To sacrifice means to willingly give the best that I have for a better purpose. It is a level of giving that effects my living.
Rapidly, this morning, I want to show you five things that sacrificial giving will do in your life if you get involved in it. Take your outlines out. I want you to notice the first thing that sacrificial giving does. Sacrificial giving builds vision. We are studying today I Chronicles 29. You see many of those verses listed on your outline. Let me set the stage for this dynamic text in the Bible.
David. You know King David, don’t you? He was called the man after God’s own heart. He was a brilliant musician, poet, leader. David was the man who killed the world heavyweight champion, Goliath. People were shocked, people couldn’t believe it. It was kind of like last night when George Forman, the 45 year-old icon, floored Michael Moore, a 26 year old to win the world heavyweight championship. People couldn’t believe it. The same was true when David defeated Goliath.
That victory catapulted David into leadership. David was up in age now. He was in the process of transferring the leadership of Israel to his son, Solomon. David, though, before this takes place stands before the entire nation of Israel and tells them that God had given him a vision to build a house of worship, a temple. He said that Israel needed to do what God wanted. That sets the stage for I Chronicles 29:1. “The task is great because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord God.” David recognized something. He saw right up front that this was just not another subdivision, another gymnasium. This was the house of God. Any time that you build something that reflects the nature and character of God, it should be done with excellence.
The Apostle Paul says that we are to excel in everything. The word excel in the Greek means better than the rest. We serve the Creator, the provider, our awesome God. And David recognized this. God had shown the children of Israel where it should be and David started the process. Proverbs 29:18. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” You show me someone who is a visionary and I will show you someone who is a sacrificial giver. People who are visionaries are risk-takers, they will give to a cause. That is particularly true for those of us who know Christ personally. We are right there on the edge. We are taking those risk steps, those faith jumps to see things happen for God’s glory.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3. “There is a time for everything. There is a time to build.” And David recognized that this was the moment and he said that they had to seize the moment. We can’t dilly dally around. We can’t think about it. We can’t contemplate it. We can’t bring in 300 committee members to study it for a couple of years. We have got to go for it. The time is now.
That is what God is doing here in our midst. The time is now for us to build. The time is now for us to break ground on our 160 acres, to build a church that will reach millions and millions of people one day around the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a time to build. Do you want to become a visionary person? Do you want to be a person who is out there, who is really leading? Sacrificially give and watch and see what happens.
Secondly, sacrificial giving develops commitment. Here is what David says. “In my devotion to the temple of my God…” You might want to circle the word devotion because devotion and commitment are used simultaneously. “…I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God over and above everything else I have provided.” David gave all of his personal treasures to God. He gave $60,000,000 to the house of worship that day. Talk about a sacrificial gift. He led the pack. I want you to remember, though, Solomon, his son, watched him do that. Solomon was standing right there when David dropped the major dime, $60,000,000 on the Build The Vision campaign about 4,000 years ago to build that house of worship. No where in there do you hear Solomon saying, “Oh no, Dad, you are giving away my inheritance. Dad, I won’t be able to build another house. Please don’t do it. Dad, I won’t be able to buy another Ferrari chariot. Please, Dad, no.” He doesn’t do that. He rejoices in his father and his father modeled sacrificial giving.
Parents oftentimes ask me what they can do for their children that will really help them, how they can mark them for life. You know what I say. I tell them that one of the best things they can do is sacrificially give. Give the best you have willingly for a greater purpose. In letting your children see someone who is generous to their friends, generous to their family, generous to the poor, generous to the church, you have given your children something that money cannot buy.
We are about building the church. Jesus said, build My church. He said the manifold wisdom of Himself will be made known through the church. The Bible also said that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. So when you talk about structures, bricks and sticks, the most important thing that a group can ever build is a church. David knew that when he built the house of worship and we realize that now here at our fellowship.
I can give based on two things. See that on your outline? I can give based on reason or based on revelation. Two options. Most of us give based on reason. We say, what can I afford? What can I do that will be just enough? I want to give that “safe-rificial” gift. I will talk to my accountant. I will act like I am sacrificing, but I am really not. That is what I will do. I will give based on reason. There is a problem. That takes no faith. Zero. None. Zilch. You are making a mockery of God. You might as well not give at all if it doesn’t cost you something.
I don’t want to give based on reason, I can give based on revelation. And that is the Biblical mandate of giving. Revelation. That is saying God is the initiator of all gifts, I want to be a channel to give. “What do You want to give through me? I want to pass this on. I know that You have a resource that cannot be exhausted. I want to do that.” And when you talk to God about it, when you pray about your sacrificial giving, when you realize that it is man’s best spend, your giving becomes an act of worship. I am not talking about charity. I am talking about giving. It can become an act of worship if you ask God what He wants to do through you. That is revelation giving. Asking God to reveal to you what to give.
The Apostle Paul, described those amazing Macedonians in II Corinthians 8:3. They gave as much as they were able. Let me stop right here and say something. This endeavor, this focus, this campaign is about not equal resources but equal responsibility, not equal gifts but equal sacrifice. God does not look at the amount of the gift. He looks at the amount left over. The greatest gift in this campaign will probably not be a six-figure gift, it might be a $100 gift or a $1,000 gift. It is between you and God. Satan loves to get us into a comparison game, doesn’t he? We compare and contrast. Well, I am much better than that person because I am doing this. Well, I don’t use language like this person and that person. Make sure that you check out who you are before a holy God. We can all get caught up in calling others hypocrites. Hey, the church is full of hypocrites. We all mess up and stumble and bumble all the time.
Someone once told me that they couldn’t attend church because there are too many hypocrites in church. Being a hypocrite is saying one thing and doing another. I think that all of us have said one thing, that we want to follow God, yet done another. Haven’t we? So really, you can group us all together as hypocrites. I say, join the club. Come on in.
I love this verse. II Samuel 24:24. Now David had a chance right here to take the easy way out. He had a chance to play it safe, to just do a little bit. He was the man, the King. What did he do? Here is what he did. “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” You see a sacrificial gift, ladies and gentlemen, is a gift that actually changes the way you live. I am not talking about taking away the necessities of life. But you change your lifestyle. That is the Biblical pattern of generosity and giving.
Sacrifice, though, is rooted in the concept called love. Don’t ever forget that. Don’t ever skip over that point. Abraham sacrificed to the Lord because he loved him. David sacrificed to the Lord because he loved him. God, the Father, sacrificed for you and me because He loved us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” That is the very essence and nature of Christianity. David says that he will not sacrifice to the Lord his God burnt offerings that cost him nothing. You see, David knew that a gift that cost him nothing was really like no gift at all. Where are you in this regard? I asked myself this question as I read this text this week in my study.
Thirdly, sacrificial giving challenges others. You heard of the Pepsi challenge a few years ago. Well, this is the Hebrew-Israelite challenge. David puts it down. David was a motivator. Here is what he said. I Chronicles 29:5. David knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime. And folks, I want to say something and I say it not to shock you, not to startle you. But we only have a couple of times in our lives to do extravagant things for God. Only a few times. Some of you are doing great things for God right now. Some of you are giving sacrificially. Some of you will be a great part of this ministry because you have given. Others, though, are sitting back on the sidelines acting like you are sacrificing, tipping God, “safe-rificial” giving, but you are not into the David, Abraham, God the Father, God the Son sacrificial giving. And you are going to miss it. But, you know what will happen? In eighteen months, when we walk into our brand new worship center and preschool children’s facilities, you’ll enjoy it with the rest of us even though you have not paid the price, even though you have not sacrificed. You will love it but you will know down deep in your heart of hearts that you missed it.
Some of you are gong back and forth. Do I give safely or not? Do I give “safe-rificially” or sacrificially? Test God on it. You may not have another chance like this. One day your children will come up to you and ask if you were a part of the great building campaign in 1994? “Dad, what did you do? What was your part?” Are you going to say, “Man, I sacrificed.”? Or are you going to hang you head. It is between you and God.
David said, “Now who is willing to consecrate himself today to the Lord?” I Chronicles 29:5. He is saying OK, here is what I am giving. Who is willing to do the same. Who is willing to follow me in this sacrifice? Some of you may wonder why I gave the number that Lisa and I are going to give to the building campaign several weeks ago. It is something that I did not enjoy doing but I felt led to do it? Do you know why? It is the Biblical model. David named the gift down to the penny. A leader cannot take a church where he is not willing to go first himself. And that is why I did it.
After David said that, look what happened. “Then the leaders of the families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the high’s work gave willingly.” They said, whoa, David is sacrificing like that, we want to sacrifice too. And in the next verse, they named their gifts, how much they had given. That is the way God works. God always has a chain of command. There is always authority. We need to respect that authority. God is our authority. We have authority in the business world, in the educational world, in our government. We also have authority spiritually and relationally. And we have to get under God’s chain of command to see what he is going to do.
Now let me tell you what motivation is not. David was an incredible motivator. Motivation is not what my basketball coach did at Florida State University about twelve years ago. When I was a freshman at Florida State we made it to the Mid-east regional against the University of Kentucky. It was a nationally televised game. I knew I wasn’t going to play. I wasn’t worried about that unless the eleven guys in front of me got hurt. In the locker room before we ran out, Billy Packer was there, Dick Inburg, the whole package. I was just fired up. I even did my hair for when my parents would see me on national television. I told my mom that I would give her a signal when the camera panned the bench. Anyway our coach gathered us around for a big pre-game talk. I thought, OK this is it. He is going to motivate us. We will go out there and beat the fool out of Kentucky. We had a better team, rated 13th in the country. We could blow them away.
Here is what our coach said. “OK, guy, let’s just go out there and have a good time.” I thought, Coach Williams, that’s it? Then he turned to me and asked me to lead the team in a word of prayer. So I prayed for the team. Then we ran out there and got beaten by 35 points. Anyway, that is not what David did. David didn’t say, “OK, children of Israel, let’s just go out there and have a good time.” He didn’t do that. He challenged them. And look at the response of the people. Turn your outline over. I Chronicle 29:9. “The people rejoiced at the willing response.” They were so excited that they were giving Hebrew high-fives. Unbelievable. David has sacrificed. The leadership has sacrificed. This is phenomenal. The people rejoiced at the willing response of the leaders…”for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord.” It is kind of funny, over the last several weeks I have been talking about money. It is not a popular series, you know. When I am preaching, though, I can look out and identify the people who are giving. They are smiling. They are relaxed. They know this is what it is about.
Do you know what the root word of miserable is? Miser. Have you ever known a miserable person? I guarantee that they are takers. I have never met a miserable person who was a giving person. And these people responded by giving sacrificially. They took in $400,000,000 on one day. Nice offering, yes?
Fourthly, it creates perspective. We need some perspective these days, don’t we? Old fashioned, God honored perspective. This past week Lisa and I were in San Diego, CA for a pastor’s conference. We had a wonderful time. It was the first time that Lisa and I had been away from the kids in a year and a half. So it was like a second honeymoon for us. One evening we had some free time. We had heard about a restaurant in LaHoya, CA called the Marine Room. Talk about a great restaurant. The view was unbelievable. When you enter the restaurant, you walk down several flights and actually you are on the beach. Now I am not talking about sand under your feet. But the windows are ground level and the Pacific Ocean breaks onto the windows. So you are eating and all of a sudden a wave hits. During the first five minutes of our conversation, Lisa and I must have used the word perspective about twenty times. “Look at this perspective. What a perspective. It is so interesting.” And also romantic. A unique perspective.
You know, it is time for some of us to get a great perspective on life. And again, the secret lies in sacrificial giving. I want to show you three principles about God and His giving. God’s power. Do you realize how powerful God is? David did. He said, “Yours, oh, Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor.” You see, God is sovereign and He can do things for us and through us that we can’t do. Do you realize if you are linked with God, you can do things that the normal person can’t do. That is right. You can and I can. Extraordinary. The power.
Also, God’s provision. I Chronicles 29:11b. “Everything in heaven and earth is yours.” What I do, though, is look at my lack of supply. God tells us that His resources cannot be exhausted. “Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”
Now, it is great to know about God’s power and His provision. But the bottom line is His partnership. Are you spiritually linked with Him? Are you a partner in His firm? David says in this verse that he is in the firm by grace, that he doesn’t deserve it, it is a one-sided deal. I Chronicles 29:14. “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?” David knew that God is the initiator of all gifts, that he was to be a channel to pass them on. “Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” Whoa.
That kind of reminds me of an elephant. In fact, I read a story this past week about an elephant and a mouse. They were partners, tight. They were connecting every day. The mouse would ride on the back of the elephant everywhere he would go. The mouse would direct him. “Turn right.” “Turn left.” One day the elephant walked up to a giant ravine and stopped. The little mouse said, “Let’s go for it.” There was a little bridge crossing the ravine. The elephant wasn’t sure he could get across. But the little mouse urged him on. So the elephant walked across the bridge with the mouse on his back. The bride was shaking and quaking and rocking and rattling. They finally made it to the other side and do you know what the mouse said? The mouse had the audacity to say, “Boy, we really rocked that bridge, didn’t we.” That is a crazy story, isn’t it? That mouse was nuts. He didn’t do hardly anything. He was just along for the ride. Who did everything? The elephant.
When I am spiritually linked with God, my gifts, my life can rock and shake and rattle the world because I am riding on the back of the most powerful thing in the universe, God. So, don’t ever have that mouse tendency to say, “Oh, I did it. It’s me. I really rocked that. I really built that church. I really gave over here.” It is because of God. It is from God’s hands. It is from God’s love that we are who we are.
Fifth, sacrificial giving refines character. You won’t believe what happened in the first service. I was reading a scripture verse and in the middle of my reading I said, and God said. The speaker blared an announcement to evacuate the building. The wild thing about it was, it didn’t even shock the people. They thought we were doing one of our wild dramas or something. OK, what’s next. We had to move the entire congregation out to our other building across the way, a little like the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea. Now, before I read this verse now, if the sirens go off, we did not plan this. What happened was that a dust particle settled on one of the sensors. OK, it refines character. Here is what David said. “I know my God that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” See that character quality, integrity? There are too many of us who have a lot of our character qualities on the endangered character species list. They are not there. They are extinct. David says that if you want to build character, give sacrificially. “All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent.” Ladies, how many of you have on a diamond ring, watch or necklace? Do you know what the difference is between your diamond and a bunch of worthless carbon? I will tell you. A diamond has been in the bowels of the earth under intense heat and pressure and force. It has withstood that and become the most beautiful stone known to man.
During this Build The Vision campaign, the Holy Spirit has put pressure, heat and a lot of things on a lot of you. Some of you have stood up and I am seeing in the making a lot of spiritual diamonds as you give sacrificially. But some of you are still going to kind of float around like that carbon. You don’t want to face it. You want to run from the issue. You don’t really want to give. It is too risky. It takes too much. Do you want to be some carbon or a diamond. God wants you and me to be that diamond. This is a test to see where you are spiritually.
I Chronicles 29:18. “Keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever.” This Build The Vision thing is not just a three year thing and then it is over. This will go on and on and on and on. We will not always sacrifice to the degree that we are sacrificing now. But we will continue to build and develop. “I pray that they keep their hearts loyal to you.” That is what I pray, that we keep this spirit, this loyalty operating in our lives. After God blesses, it is easy just to relax, to let the guard down, sit back and spiritually chill. God says don’t do that. Continue to grow. Continue to move. Continue to have that vision and make sure to watch your character.
This last verse on the outline shocked me. I was studying this passage on our flight back from California. After everything happened that I have mentioned and after the leadership was transferred to Solomon, look what they did on that day. I Chronicles 29:22. “They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the Lord that day.” I thought, that is what we are going to do tonight. We as a church will come together in our Build The Vision banquet and we will eat and drink with great joy. We will see a thirty-minute movie presentation about our church and we will commit financially for this Build The Vision campaign. So we are going to be about this. Isn’t that exciting?
Sacrificial giving is the term. Man’s best spend is the issue. They are related. I will say this one more time. You are not really living until you are involved in sacrificial giving.