Then King David went in and sat before the LORD… 1 Chronicles 17:16
We are presently in the midst of stewardship season at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church. It is the time of year we are asking those who are part of our community to commit financially to the church for the coming year. Yet, even as we invite people to pledge to the church, we are aware that this season is often more about relationship than it is about money. In fact, the fact that it is about money simply gives us new perspective on our relationship with God.
Last Sunday, we recounted the time when God told King David, “Keep your money, I don’t need it.” The truth is that God does not need our money. What God desires instead is a relationship with us that includes giving and receiving. When David offered to give without a sense of the connectedness of having received, God frankly wasn’t interested.
Giving without an awareness of the partnership of God in our lives develops an unhealthy relationship with God. It misunderstands the ways that God is already present in our lives and in our finances. It misunderstands the opportunity to continue to partner with God in charity to those in need and support of ministry that honors God’s name. It misunderstands it by making the transaction financial instead of relational.
When we give and receive with an awareness of God’s partnership in our lives, we move in relationship. We participate in the Kingdom of God.
When David was faced with this distinction, he came into the Presence of God and sat down. He did not try to “do.” He did not try to give. He rested in who God was and the ways God desired to partner with him in life.
Before we give, we should pause in the Presence of God. Like King David, we need to listen to the places God has been moving in our lives already. We need to receive the promises that he makes to uphold and establish us. Then we can respond with humility, gratitude, and partnership with God.
Jesus, money is often difficult for us to talk about in church. We confess the ways that we have seen money abused in your name. We confess the ways we have felt manipulated and shamed about money in your name. Open our eyes so that we can begin to know your Presence with us now. Teach us to give freely in partnership with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.