All This Stuff is God’s

“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” 1 Chronicles 29:14

This was David’s prayer of thanks to God for the gifts the people gave for the building of the temple. Moses probably said something similar in response to the great generosity of the people of Israel who gave for the building of the tabernacle in the desert (Exodus 35-36).

Listen to sermon here:

Watch 3rd graders get Bibles here.

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19, Exodus 35-36 here.

Why can’t you bend a penny in half?  Change is hard.[1]

Can you imagine being in the desert that day that Moses asked the people to donate gold and silver, oil and fabric, wood and yarn?  Do you think maybe they were thinking Moses was crazy?  But they went to their tents and started looking at what they had, and they ended up being able to come up with more than enough of all that was needed to create the tabernacle, even in the desert.  God had provided all that they needed to do what God had asked them to do.  God was teaching them to trust that he would provide for them.

OfferingOne of the ways God provided was by telling them to ask their neighbors in Egypt for parting gifts.  I wonder if the Israelites were wondering why they would need all this stuff that their neighbors were giving them?  By being obedient to God in Egypt, they were then prepared to be obedient to God in the desert.

We don’t always understand because we can’t see into the future, but God knows where we’re going and how he’s getting us there.  Our job is to trust God and do what God tells us to do.  In our New Testament reading for today, Paul tells us what to do.  He says: Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:11)

What does it mean to be godly?  (Not perfect, but like God.  Loving, faithful, forgiving, kind, helpful, prayerful, generous, etc.)

The apostle Paul has written this letter to Timothy, a young pastor, to encourage Timothy about leading the church.  Some people were using their religion as a way to get people to give them money.  Their motivation was greed, rather than serving God.  So Paul points out that the greater wealth is to be godly and to be content with whatever God has provided.

Paul tells Timothy to . . .  Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Storing up treasure in heaven, as the choir sang earlier.  We do this by enjoying and being thankful for the things God has given us and using our money to do good.

Why do we give?   Moses instructed the people to give as their hearts were stirred, not because they had to, but because they wanted to.  Paul writes to the Corinthians that God loves a cheerful giver.  What makes us want to give?  Gratitude for what we have.  But instead, sometimes we’re too busy comparing what we have with what others have, and so we focus instead on what we don’t have.

There was a little boy who lost his first tooth, and he was so excited to put it under his pillow and see if what his mom said was really true, that the tooth fairy would take the tooth and leave him money or a present.  The next morning he found a silver dollar under his pillow and he was so excited about it that he couldn’t wait to tell his friends at school.  But his friends scoffed at his silver dollar.  One said, “Is that all you got?  I got five dollars.”

His excitement turned to disappointment. Compared to what his friends got, the dollar didn’t seem like so much anymore.  That’s why the Bible tells us in Galatians 6:4 not to compare ourselves with others, and to be thankful for everything.

Everything we have comes from God.  We brought nothing into this world and we take nothing out. (1 Timothy 6:7)

If we consider everything as a gift from God, and our point of comparison is the little we had at the beginning of life, then we can be thankful for whatever we have, and even more thankful when we have opportunities to share.

Be thankful for even the smallest things, because they can grow into big things. The famous businessman Warren Buffet said,  “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

treesI am thankful that years and years ago someone planted the trees that provide shade over my house[2], and for the trees in front of our church.  I often see people stopping under them as they are driving through town, and I am thankful that we can share that shade.

Thankfulness and generosity help us keep from loving our money and our stuff too much.

We brought nothing into this world and we’ll have nothing when we leave it, except the love and grace of God, so we thank God for his kindness and mercy, and for Jesus who himself came into the world with nothing to show us how much God loves us all.


[2] Warren Buffet said, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

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