All the leaders and all the people rejoiced and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until it was full. II Chronicles 24: 10 NRSV
Well, I was not rejoicing when I paid my taxes this week but this scripture isn't referring to a government tax. This is the tax that Moses and later David and Solomon collected to pay for God's dwelling place. This young king, Joash, is being led to make improvements in the Temple but needs money to do so. A chest is set outside the gate of the house of the Lord and the people are so moved and willing, that the chest is constantly being filled. In fact, the leaders and the people are doing so joyfully.
Every Sunday that plate comes around in front of you and your thoughts are probably those of guilt or duty. Perhaps you feel bad that you aren't giving more or that you just forgot your checkbook. And doesn't it seem like there is a capital campaign for building improvements every time you turn around? There is not much joy these days in giving offerings to God.
Yet, here we have an example that the people were taxed (in other words, this wasn't an optional offering) and they were happy to give their money. This is because they were giving it to God.
Think about all the bills you pay each month - the power company, the water company, the mortgage company, the credit card companies... are you happy about writing that check or going online to pay those bills? Does it give you a feeling of satisfaction or happiness to know those big conglomerates are getting your hard-earned cash? How much different it is to give to God! Even when giving for building campaigns, we are giving to the One who has give so much to us including this money. Think about the lives being changed, the stories of redemption and your own discipleship journey. That is what your money is going to be paying for when you give your money to God through the church.
Now doesn't that make you happy?
God, give us joy when we give to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims