v 14. But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!
One brand of watch has a crafty catchphrase in the advertisement: ‘You don’t own a …….., you are looking after it for the next generation.’ The implication is that you are merely a steward, taking care of something for somebody else.
God’s message is similar and David has it in one simple statement! We don’t own anything. Everything we give to God is only giving back to him what is already his, and he has given us as stewards to look after it.
The trouble is that we are accustomed to think of ownership. We’ve worked for it; we’ve earned it; we chose it; we look after it; it’s ours. We can hang on to it, or we can give it away. This is one of the very first ideas that a tiny child latches on to – MINE. My teddy, my toy, No, you can’t have it, it’s mine! Then as adults it is hard to break into that frame of thinking. The life-concept of everything being God’s is outside and above all that we have grown up thinking and believing.
Generosity depends on breaking through that barrier. I was thrilled at the recent Church Meeting after all the money had come in for refurbishing the premises and we able to agree that we had plenty and to spare, so were able to give funds to complete a project at a Training College in Africa.
We had freely received, and so we freely gave.
We could perhaps have held on to the surplus (just in case) or gold-plated the taps in the loo, but God had given us and the Church the money to be used. So we gave it away – and that put a smile on my face.