Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the LORD…. (1 Chronicles 29:9b)
God does not need us, but we surely need Him. Yet, in His grace, He invites us into partnership with Him to accomplish His mission in the world. Remember this formula, “Apart from God, we cannot, but apart from us, God will not.” He has invited the people of God to join Him in His work. God does not need our money, but we need to give. There are a few final lessons from 1 Chronicles 29 that challenge us to partner with God and each other in mission.
Partnership with God and fellow believers requires DECISIVE ACTION (v.2-3). David made a commitment. He made a promise and followed through. I can wish and hope and intend all I want to, but until I make a commitment I will accomplish little.
Not only does this partnership require decisive action, it takes DEDICATED UNION (v.4-8). The Scripture says, “whoever had…gave…” The work was too big for even a king or the leaders—it took all of the people together to prepare for the building of the temple. Do we have a God-sized task that we have embraced? Most of us are content with walking on molehills when God has mountaintop experiences for us. I can climb a hill by myself. To scale Everest requires partners. Every member is important. Tenzing Norgay, who reached the summit of Mount Everest with Edmund Hillary in 1953 said: “You do not climb a mountain like Everest by trying to race ahead on your own, or by competing with your comrades. You do it slowly and carefully, by unselfish teamwork. We could never have made it alone. We needed a great team.” That is what the work of God requires.
This in turn will lead to DELIGHTFUL CELEBRATION (v.9) The people and their king “rejoiced greatly….” When we honor God by faith and obedience, we see the hand of God move in mighty ways. Then we respond in worship! The church will be filled with glad givers.
I’ll never forget an overcast Sunday when my parents decided to go out to eat with some friends after worship. I wanted to go home and watch football. I had no interest in sitting around with a bunch of old church folks listening to them gab. So I pitched a fit, begged, and then pouted all the way from Black Mountain to Marion. When we pulled in the parking lot, I announced stubbornly that I wasn’t hungry and didn’t want anything. So, my father let me have my way. They went in, ate a good meal, laughed and enjoyed their friends, while I was cold, bored out of my mind, and hungry in the car. It seemed like eternity. Somewhere along the way I became very sorry, but it was too late. I missed my opportunity. It is tragic that God has abundant life for His children and we settle for far less because we want our way rather than God’s will.
By the way, there is more to the story. They did bring me some leftovers. I was a rebellious son, yet still their son. I didn’t get what I could have. All I got was scraps. It was a missed opportunity. Some of us are going to get into heaven that way. We are God’s children—truly saved—yet insisting on our own way and we miss out on the opportunity for partnership with God and His people.