Text: 1 Chronicles 29:10-16
"When God gives, God gives abundantly. When God bestows, God bestows lavishly!
"God not only deliberately calls and chooses you and me to work together with God and with each other in making God's dream come true and bringing that vision to reality, but God also entrusts to your hands and mine everything we could possibly need to get that job done -- everything we could possible need!"
The Great Giveaway
(What does God do with it?)
1 Chronicles 29:10-16
Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly; and David said, "Blessed art thou, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from thee, and thou rulest over all. In thy hand are power and might; and in thy hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank thee, our God, and praise thy glorious name.
But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from thee, and of they own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding."
O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building thee a house for thy holy name comes from thy hand and is all thy own."
"Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power, and the glory, and the victory and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine. ... Who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from thee, and of they own have we given thee. ... O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building thee a house for thy holy name comes from thy hand and is all they own."
Man oh man! David really hit the nail right on the head, didn't he? "Everything we have, O Lord, has come right straight from your hand; what we're giving, Lord ... we're really giving back, because it is yours ... "
The psalmist makes that same kind of happy acknowledgement: "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it; the world and all who dwell in it."
And if we're going to be talking like this, then we've got to listen to what St. James says in his epistle: "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father."
There's some pretty powerful truth in those passages, isn't there? Again and again, we hear it boldly, clearly stated -- that everything, everything, in heaven and earth is God's.
God is the Creator of "e.i.h.a.e" ("everything in heaven and earth"). God is the owner of "e.i.h.a.e." God is the Lord of "e.i.h.a.e." Sounds kinda heavenly, doesn't it?
But what till you hear what God does with this everything that is God's in heaven and on earth! Do you know what God does? The very first thing God does with this "everything in heaven and on earth" is to start giving it away for the sake of others, for the well-being of others, for the blessing of others.
Right there at the very beginning, before the dust even settles as God creates, God takes some of that dust, forms you and me in God's very own image, after God's own likeness, then breathes the breath of life into us and we become the living beings that we are.
Do you know what else God does with this "everything in heaven and on earth" that is God's? God goes right on giving it away for the blessing of others. Listen to the psalmist: "The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their meat in due season; you open your hands and satisfy the desires of every living thing."
That's right -- God takes all of this "everything in heaven and on earth" that is his:
All of these blessings
All of these good gifts
All of these mercies
God opens God's hands and lovingly provides everything we need for our daily life. God provides everything.
And people, when God provides, God provides! None of this just a sip or a smell or a little taste stuff with God; not just a bit here and a particle there with God. Not just a few scraps; not just a thimblefull; not just barely enough to squeak by ...
Oh, no -- not God. Remember that day on the hillside? 5,000 people"stuffed."
When God gives, God gives abundantly. When God bestows, God bestows lavishly!
We already heard that in the prayer of David, didn't we? Let me quote another friend of yours -- a fellow called St. Paul
Listen to what Paul has to say about how generously and abundantly and lavishly God blesses and bestows: "God gives you everything that you need, so that you may always have sufficient both for yourselves and for giving away to other people."
God takes all of this "everything that is in heaven and in earth." God takes all of this that is God's and opens his hands and doesn't just bless you, but blesses you real good, real good. You not only have enough of everything you need for your own, personal, physical health and well-being, not just enough to meet every single need you might have, but God gives it in such great abundance that you can be god-like and share it with other people so that their needs are met as well!
That is absolutely awesome ... awesome.
Wait! Wait! There's more, more! And it's every bit as awesome and wonderful as what we've already learned. Do you know what else God does with this "everything that is in heaven and earth" of which God is creator, owner and Lord? God gives you and me the dignity, the honor, the glory, the holy responsibility of managing it, of caring for it, of administering it in partnership with God -- and with one another!
Yep! You heard it right! God takes everything that is in the heavens and on earth and is God's ... and puts it into our hands as a sacred trust -- to manage, to use, to care for, to administer, as stewards of God ... in keeping with God's own interests and concerns, according to God's vision, God's hopes, God's dreams.
I tell you that is downright magnificent!
God not only deliberately calls and chooses you and me to work together with God and with each other in making God's dream come true and bringing that vision to reality, but God also entrusts to your hands and mine everything we could possibly need to get that job done -- everything we could possible need!
WOW! What a glorious calling we have as Christ- ones, eh? What tremendous possibilities we have as the people of God -- right here in this congregation, right now in this city.
Look at what has already happened here! Think of what can happen here if you take this sacred trust seriously and give back to God -- in offerings of time and self and possessions a truly proportionate share of what God has first given you.
Catch that exciting vision, you people of God; then give yourselves to it with every bit of the love and devotion and determination you can, so that God may be served, so that God's will may be done indeed; and that God's name may be mightily magnified and exalted!
For more sermons by George Hayes, click on First You'd Better Buy a Semi and Eight Other Stewardship Sermons
Ordained in 1951, George Haynes is a mission developer for Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Rockport, TX and is an ELCA Stewardship key leader.