We live in the time between the first and second comings of Jesus. It’s a time when we are joined to Jesus by His Spirit but awaiting his final coming. At His coming we will dwell in His personal presence. When Christ appears for the second time, those in Christ who are dead will be raised and along with those who are living in Christ will be transformed to share in the reality of the new heavens and earth where God personally dwells.
To live effectively and productively in this present age, Christians should be focused on eternity while making the most of the life they have in this present world.
“Now who will volunteer to consecrate himself to the Lord today? Then the leaders of the households, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly…Then the people rejoiced because of their leaders’ willingness to give, for they had given to the Lord with a whole heart. King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chronicles 29:5-6,9, HCSB).
In preparation for building the temple, King David accumulated precious metals and stones and wood for its construction. In addition to all the materials he accumulated as King, he gave a substantial amount of gold and silver from his personal wealth.
Then he asked the leaders of Israel what they would give! And what’s interesting is the way King David asked them to give.
“Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine…Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold…Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor” (Proverbs 3:9-10,13-14,16, HCSB).
Contained in the sagacious advice of Proverbs 3 are two keys for success.
The first key for success concerns how you handle your finances. Before you spend any of your income, first give to God. If you don’t know how much to give, then a tithe or 10% is a good starting place.
“But the people continued to bring additional gifts each morning. Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work. They went to Moses and reported: The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do! So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough! So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.”
Suppose you went to church one Sunday morning and when it came to the end of the service the pastor announced no offering would be received because people had given so much the church had more than enough money!
“All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved came and brought their sacred offerings to the Lord. They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle, for the performance of its rituals, and for the sacred garments…So the people of Israel—every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the Lord had given them through Moses—brought their gifts and gave them freely to the Lord” (Exodus 35:21,29, NLT).
What if they took up an offering for a new church building and all the church members were so enthusiastic about doing God’s work that everyone in the church contributed financially to the project?
And, what if they gave enough in one offering to construct and furnish the new church building?