Sunday, January 20, 2013

A True Reason to Rejoice

In our society we are taught to receive willingly.  Let's take a look:


  • Have you seen how many people are on our welfare program?  4,300,000.  Or the number of people using food stamps? 46,700,000.  And what about unemployment? 5,600,000. I'm not trying to get into politics here.  The programs have good intentions but they can definitely be abused.  I just want to point out how many people are willingly (and probably joyfully) receiving (Welfare Statistics).
  • People my age seem to think they should get a huge paycheck for doing the bare minimum.  Show up, get paid.  That's how it works right?
  • Christmas has become almost entirely about receiving.  Yeah, we say we know the true meaning of Christmas.  But when we don't get gifts, we are a little (if not a lot) disappointed.
The list could go on.  I just wanted to give a visual of how we LOVE to receive, and how we do so willingly and joyfully.

1 Chronicles 29:9 - Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made the offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.

We are not talking about tithe here.  We're talking about going above and beyond their tithe.  These people were rejoicing over the fact that they gave so willingly!  Did you catch that?  They didn't receive, they gave...and rejoiced because they did so.

That is quite the opposite of our society.  Maybe even ourselves.  For my husband and I, going above and beyond tithe is a stretch.  It makes the budget tight...really tight.  Though we don't stress about it anymore, and it often makes my heart happy, I'm not sure that I would use the word "rejoice" when I'm writing out that check.

Then why did it come so easy to these people in Chronicles?  Two things.  First, rejoicing was "an affect of God's grace in them" (Wesley).  They had a whole heart when they gave.  "Whole" in the Hebrew is shalem - it can also be translated as "complete, safe, peaceful, perfect, whole, full, at peace" (Strong's 8003).  What can we get from all of that?  Their heart was in the right place.  They weren't giving to look good, they weren't giving to get something, they weren't giving because they felt guilty.  They were giving out of their hearts.  And God blessed that.  His grace provided the joy they needed for giving so willingly.

And because they gave, they had joy in knowing that the Lord's house would be built, that His work would be done.  When we give with a whole/perfect/complete heart, we should be confident in knowing that the Lord will use it to fulfill His purposes.  That should bring us true joy!  With our giving, His work is being done!


I challenge you today to focus more on giving than receiving.  Instead of receiving so willingly, try to give willingly - but make sure your heart is in the right place.  If it is, God's joy will emanate through your soul and give you a confidence of accomplishing His work - a true reason to rejoice!

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