1 Then King David said to the whole assembly:
My son Solomon, the one whom God chose, is too inexperienced for this great task, since this temple won’t be for humans but for the LORD God. 2 Using every resource at my disposal, I’ve provided everything for my God’s temple: gold for gold objects, silver for silver objects, bronze for bronze objects, iron for iron objects, lumber for wooden objects, carnelian stones for settings, antimony, colorful stones, every kind of precious stone, and a large amount of marble. 3 What’s more, because of my delight in my God’s temple, I have dedicated my own private treasure of gold and silver to my God’s temple, in addition to all that I’ve provided for the holy temple: 4 three thousand kikkars of gold from the gold of Ophir, seven thousand kikkars of refined silver for covering the walls of the rooms [or houses], 5 gold for gold objects, and silver for silver objects, to be used for everything the skilled workers will make. Who else, then, will volunteer, dedicating themselves to the LORD today?
9 The people rejoiced at this response, because they had presented their offerings to the LORD so willingly and wholeheartedly. King David also rejoiced greatly.
10 Then David blessed the LORD before the whole assembly:
Blessed are you, LORD,
God of our ancestor Israel,
forever and always.
11 To you, LORD, belong greatness and power,
honor, splendor, and majesty,
because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to you.
Yours, LORD, is the kingship,
and you are honored as head of all.
12 You are the source of wealth and honor,
and you rule over all.
In your hand are strength and might,
and it is in your power to magnify and strengthen all.
13 And now, our God, we thank you
and praise your glorious name.
14 Who am I,
and who are my people,
that we should be able to offer so willingly?
Since everything comes from you,
we have given you that which comes from your own hand.
15 To be sure, we are like all our ancestors,
immigrants without permanent homes.
Our days are like a shadow on the ground,
and there’s no hope.
16 LORD, our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build you a temple for your holy name comes from your hand and belongs to you. 17 Since I know, my God, that you examine the mind and take delight in honesty, I have freely given all these things with the highest of motives. And now I’ve been delighted to see your people here offering so willingly to you.
King David didn’t just talk a good game in support of his son Solomon’s temple-building assignment. He eagerly set out to gather what his son Solomon would need for the building. He started by setting aside a large chunk of his personal fortune as a legacy. But it wasn’t a one-man project—he allowed all of Israel a chance to join in as they chose. David and the people saw the giving as a privilege, not a burden. They were giving back what came from God’s hand for God’s purposes.
Lord God, thank you for the gift of life and all that comes with it. Grow in me a heart that fills with joy when I have the privilege of giving back some of what you’ve given me. Amen.
Do you want to live tight-fisted or open-handed? Close your hand into a fist. Now squeeze it closed even tighter. Count to 20. Notice the energy it takes to hold it tightly closed.
We often do this spiritually. We grip our blessings tightly and, usually unbeknownst to us, that takes a lot of energy. A closed fist requires us to maintain vigilance, rarely relaxed into trust. It’s exhausting to cling to our resources, misunderstanding them as prizes for our efforts.
What if we lived open-handed? What if we saw our resources, not as prize, but as blessing poured into our lives for the sake of others? For the sake of the world God so loves?
If we allow the resources that flow into our lives to flow through us and out into the world, we find ourselves more free. We are more available to receive God’s good gifts and more able to release them for God’s purposes in the world.
I’ve shared from time to time in the Insights blog about my journey with my husband through his dementia. He passed away peacefully last month. That journey helped me learn to stay open-handed, to receive its gifts rather than grip tightly to preserve control. Grace has abounded!
Of course, like so much of the gospel, this is upside-down thinking, counter-intuitive. We assume that we will be secure and happy only when we grip tightly to what we have. But Jesus invites us to the Way that leads to Life.
Today, let’s try living open-handed, ready to receive and ready to give. Amen.
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