Cash Only Please!
on money has become so great in many churches that sermons are
preached on why you need to give in the way they want you to give.
Giving of time, influence, hospitality, and sometimes even material
goods, is downplayed as somehow inferior. One passage used to justify
this comes from second Samuel.
24:18-25 On that day Gad went to David and said to him, "Go up
and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the
Jebusite." 19 So David went up, as the LORD had commanded
through Gad. 20 When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men
coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with
his face to the ground. 21 Araunah said, "Why has my lord the
king come to his servant?" "To buy your threshing
floor," David answered, "so I can build an altar to the
LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped." 22 Araunah
said to David, "Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him
and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are
threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. 23 O king, Araunah gives
all this to the king." Araunah also said to him, "May the
LORD your God accept you." 24 But the king replied to Araunah,
"No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the
LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David
bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of
silver for them. 25 David built an altar to the LORD there and
sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD
answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
amazing, and sad, how Old Testament passages are pulled from their
context, and sometimes even held in opposition to other passages, to
make some teachers' points. A few big "why?" questions need
to be answered about this specific instance with David...
David feel it necessary that this sacrifice cost him something?
Is there a
command in Scriptures that it must be so for David, or for anyone (or
this passage seem to contradict the actions of Abraham, the father of all
those of faith?
brevity, the verse immediately prior to this passage helps to set the
context, though it would be better to read all the way from the start
of the chapter:
24:17 When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he
said to the LORD, "I am the one who has sinned and done wrong.
These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall upon me
and my family."
sinned. He recognized that it was his sin. Under the Law of
Moses - and David was under the Law of Moses - anyone who had sinned
was required to make a sin offering, a sacrifice for their own sin.
5:5-6 "'When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must
confess in what way he has sinned 6 and, as a penalty for the sin he
has committed, he must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from
the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for
him for his sin.
Law, it was necessary for the sacrifice to cost David because it was
David's sin. The one who sinned was responsible to bring the offering
(read all of the Law!). For this reason the exact same would also
apply to all others under the Law. If animals belonging Araunah had
been sacrificed, the sacrifice would have been Araunah's and not
David's. As a Jebusite, Araunah would not have been aware of this
making it necessary for David to clarify why he must pay for
them. Moving to the New Testament church, we are no longer under the
Law. There is no longer any need for sacrifices for sin (see Hebrews 10:18)!
10:17-18 "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no
more." 18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any
sacrifice for sin. [Emphasis ours]
David with Abraham, the man of faith, who lived prior to the Law. His
freewill gift was quite different than David's compulsory sacrifice.
14:16-20 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot
and his possessions, together with the women and the other people. 17
After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied
with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of
Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley).
Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest
of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be
Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed
be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand."
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
voluntarily gave a tenth, of all the plunder he recovered, to
Melchizedek as priest of God Most High. While Abraham hadn't paid for
a cent (or shekel) of it directly, it had been through the efforts of
people directed by him, namely the 318 trained men in his hire (see
does not have to be direct, or cash only. Giving through the efforts
of people in your employ, or utilizing your influence with others, is
all still giving. In this regards, giving does cost the giver
something. A person only has so much influence to use, so many favors
to call in, and so much time to give, etc. Using any or all of this
for the glory of God is just as valid a charitable act as any cash
gift. Another example, spanning three passages of Scriptures...
2:6-9 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me,
"How long will your journey take, and when will you get
back?" It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. 7 I also
said to him, "If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the
governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct
until I arrive in Judah? 8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper
of the king's forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the
gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the
residence I will occupy?" And because the gracious hand of my
God was upon me, the king granted my requests. 9 So I went to the
governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king's letters. The
king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.
Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and
Levites - everyone whose heart God had moved - prepared to go up and
build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem. 6 All their neighbors
assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and
livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill
offerings. 7 Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging
to the temple of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from
Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god.
8:24-30 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, together with
Sherebiah, Hashabiah and ten of their brothers, 25 and I weighed out
to them the offering of silver and gold and the articles that the
king, his advisers, his officials and all Israel present there had
donated for the house of our God. 26 I weighed out to them 650
talents of silver, silver articles weighing 100 talents, 100 talents
of gold, 2720 bowls of gold valued at 1,000 darics, and two fine
articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold. 28 I said to them,
"You as well as these articles are consecrated to the LORD. The
silver and gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your
fathers. 29 Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the
chambers of the house of the LORD in Jerusalem before the leading
priestsand the Levites and the family heads of Israel." 30 Then
the priests and Levites received the silver and gold and sacred
articles that had been weighed out to be taken to the house of our
God in Jerusalem.
and the people returning to Israel from the exile all used their
influence to bring gifts to the temple. Nehemiah even got a pagan
king to donate lumber! Others had their pagan neighbors contributing
goods and livestock along with monetary gifts. This was all for the
Glory of God and all subsequently used by Him. This principle still
applies, though we no longer have to take our gifts to a temple or
priest (or church or pastor) to use them for God. Using what we have,
or even directing non-believers to use their wealth and goods for
good, is giving of ourselves in service to the Lord. Since it all
belongs to God, we are merely being faithful stewards in His command.
And yes, God can (and does) use things belonging to non-believers!
24:1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and
all who live in it.
24:45-47 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the
master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give
them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that
servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 I tell
you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
As God has
blessed you; give through your time and use your goods, your
finances, your influence, your life for Him. Use them all where most
needed to accomplish as much as possible for God's kingdom. Buying
lunch or coat may do more for the kingdom than writing a check to
14:12-14 Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon
or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or
your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you
will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the
crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although
they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
3:16-20 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his
life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but
has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear
children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and
in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth,
and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our
hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
25:34-40 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come,
you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom
prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry
and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me
something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I
needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after
me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the
righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed
you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see
you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did
for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
everyone is in a place to give directly to the poor or hungry, or to
visit the sick or those in prison, or to directly help the widow and
fatherless. Nor is there any indication in Scriptures that we are all
called to do the same things and have the same ministry
opportunities. In fact, God gave (and gives) a diversity of gifts and
callings so that every aspect of His kingdom is cared for. The
principle of Scriptures is that the one enabling someone to minister
will be just as blessed as the one doing the ministering.
10:40-42 "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives
me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet
because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone
who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will
receive a righteous man's reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup
of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple,
I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."
3 John 5-8
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers,
even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church
about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a
manner worthy of God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they
went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to
show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.