We are familiar with King David’s sin with Bathsheba. But we are also told of another sinful episode in David’s life. At the peak of his royal power, David took a census of his armies. He wanted to quantify his military might. It was an act of pride and God brought judgment on the nation of Israel in the form of a plague. Seventy thousand people died that day. David cried out to the Lord for mercy and the plague was stopped. In gratitude, David determined to build an altar there. The owner of the land was a man named Araunah. He offered to give that plot of land to King David—along with the oxen for the sacrifice. But David refused the offer. He insisted on purchasing the land. He was unwilling to give an offering that didn’t cost him anything (2 Sam. 24:24).
C.S. Lewis reflected this sentiment when he said, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
We are only one week away from Commitment Sunday when the congregation will submit pledges for the Prepare the Way campaign. I hope you have been thinking about your number—what God would have you to give. Sheri & I spent a long time settling on that number. We thought we had the right number on a couple of different occasions but then we became convinced that we could give more. We really wanted to get into the upper half of the chart of gifts. But we knew that it would require sacrifice. The first round of budget cuts was relatively easy. But the deeper we cut, the more nerves we struck. But it was rewarding to finally come to a point where we felt our gift was a fitting offering for our great God.
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