Each time we have a sermon on financial stewardship, the basic message is “we need to give more”. Whether out of need (like a building campaign or to meet a budget to fund a mission project), or out of thanksgiving (God has given us so much that we really should give some back to Him), or out of discipleship (we need to let go of our addiction to money by giving it away), the message is always basically the same: we need to give more. This is not a bad message. It is true to the gospel. It maps out a Godly use for our money. But there is another message we could share.
This text (1 Chron. 29) is seldom used for a lesson on financial stewardship, and yet it may be just what we need. David begins this prayer with a beautiful ode to God, and then comes something new. “Who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?” The Israelites have just caught David’s vision for a temple to God and have given a ridiculous amount to see it happen. And in thanksgiving for their generosity, David prays this prayer.
It is not a prayer of thanksgiving to the people for giving, but to God for blessing them to such an extent that they have so much to give. This prayer is humble, heart-felt, and bursting with gratitude. It is the very prayer we should be praying today.
God, we have given so much to Your work, yet all we have given came from You in the first place. Why me, God? Why have you determined that we should be so blessed with abundance that we can give so much, and even that comes from our excess most of the time. If we could pray this prayer, we might remember (1) that all we have comes from God and is still His to do with as He pleases, (2) we have infinitely more wealth than most of the world, and therefore a duty to use it righteously, and (3) it is a privilege, not a right, to have so much that we can give it away to God and others.