The Legacy Project
Stewardshipby Gunnar Johnson Sr Partner/ Executive Vice President, Mortarstone.com
Scripture says that God is in control but if I am to be honest it does not always feel that way. Dr. Chuck Missler used to say, ”Every day the Lord finds a new way to ask if we trust him.“ The more years I live, the more I admire God's creative way to test me.
We are in the middle of looking for a house to buy in Colorado in a tough market for home shopping. In the past two weeks, we missed on three properties that we made solid bids to purchase. In the overall grand scheme of life we are in the middle of a minor frustration, but to us, it is still a setback.
Nonetheless, I remind myself God is still in control, we are His managers, and ultimately His requirement of us is to simply follow him because, after all, He loves us and is our Lord. Despite being a teacher of these principles, my head knowledge does not always translate to my attitude being good in the process of tests. There I confessed it, and I feel better.
My family is hardly unique, every believer I have ever met has wrestled with God's active hand in their life and at times the feeling of His lack of physical intervention. My life always has something shaping my faith! There are challenges in the ministry, financial challenges, health challenges, and relational challenges. Yet, Scripture is still very clear about God being in control, and I've been taught to check every day to see if Romans 8:28 is still in my Bible. Our role in life is confirmed by Jesus in Matthew 22; we are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
In my ministry, I teach about money from a biblical perspective to individuals attempting to implement biblical financial principles, and we also teach church leaders who desire to create discipleship opportunities for the congregation God has them overseeing. Talk about a difficult Kingdom assignment, this is one of the most difficult callings I can think of in our materialistic day and age. Yet, it is what I was made to do and where I find life-giving satisfaction in service to God.
Looking at biblical principles about money, most of the verses fall under three categories: God's part as owner (Psalms 24:1); our part as managers of everything God puts in our path (Ephesians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 4:2), and then all the biblical financial principles that God gives us to follow. Did you know there are more than 2300 scriptures on money and possessions?
As I wrestled with my frustrations over our housing situation, I was also preparing to teach on 1 Chronicles 29. Perspectives are so valuable and isn't it interesting how God weaves insights that address our life situations into the passages we happen to be reading. Chuck taught us that coincidence is not a kosher word. No such thing as mere coincidence.
1 Chronicles 29 is a very interesting passage that is found in the latter part of David's life. He is considering all God has blessed him with and God's role in determining his life opportunities. Think about the life of King David and all he experienced! Beginning the scriptural narrative in 1 Samuel 16, David was a shepherd boy all alone in the field watching his family sheep in the fields. His job was straight forward: keep the sheep safe from lions and bears, and bring back the same number of sheep he went out with. During the most exciting times, I bet it was an adrenaline rush, and yet most days he probably sat around in sheer boredom wondering if his life would really just consist of watching, smelling and listening to sheep. Not real glamorous work if you think about it. He may not have felt like God planned to make him king over all of Israel, but God was in control slowly preparing David for his amazing destiny.
Have you ever felt your life was set on cruise control, under the speed limit, and stuck in the slow lane? (Patience is not my strongest gift either ) Then, suddenly, your life took a radical change in direction.
Think about how David must have felt being anointed by Samuel, who snuck into town fearing for his life from the paranoid King Saul. David had the thrill of a new tomorrow without the long-term possibilities of hanging out with smelly sheep. Then he gets a call from Saul's messengers that he is being summoned to the King's palace, where Saul took a temporary liking to him and his musical talents, but as we know, that didn't last very long.
David, a shepherd boy fresh from the field, standing in the king's chambers playing the lyre to calm the nerves of the King. That was a big honor, no doubt, but was this the destiny of the anointed King? Sure, it was a step up from sitting on a rock in the field playing music for the sheep, but do you think David ever went to bed wondering what God was doing in this season of his life? After all, Saul had a son, whom David loved, and wouldn't he be the next king over Israel? That was the way kingdoms worked back then.
Fast forward to the scene of a battle: Israel vs. the Philistines. The champion of the Philistines was a freak of nature, literally! (See Dr. Missler's briefing on the Nephelum.) David arrives, having been sent by his Dad to give care packages to his brothers stationed on the front lines of the war. Instead of being excited, the ungrateful brothers are annoyed that David showed up. To make matters worse, David hears Goliath cursing the Holy name of God. Nobody on Israel's side was willing to put him in his place, despite Saul passing out all kinds of incentives to someone, anyone, willing to take this mutant freak out. But wait, shouldn't that have been the current king's job? As David's righteous indignation grew while surveying the scene, he remembered his previous conquests, and I have to imagine the anointing from Samuel went through his mind a few times too. God wanted David to step out in faith and use his experiences with the lions and bears, as well as the thousands of sling firing practice sessions, to move one step closer to his destiny. David had to pause and ponder in this moment, did he really trust God? Was he prepared for this mission? Was this part of a future narrative over his life, or could it be the end of his life under the heavyweight and sharp edge of Goliath's sword? God must have said to David, do you trust me? To which David stepped into the battlefield signaling a definite, ”YES“! As you know, the rest is history.
There are many more stories in David's life we could walk through, but I want to draw our attention to David's perspective. David had a heart for generosity. Near the end of his life, He made a large gift to fund the building of the temple, as he handed the baton to Solomon, the next King of Israel. The way we give, and the way our heart even wants to give, is shaped by the fundamental understanding of God's ownership and our management of material possessions before the Lord.
At the beginning of 1 Chronicles 29, David describes his specific gifts based on his ability to give (vs. 2), and his desire to give – driven by his devotion to God. Then he encourages the other leaders to make a freewill offering because of their love for God. Amazingly, the people rejoiced because they had all wanted to give willingly, with their whole heart, for the building of the temple. By the way, David was described to have rejoiced greatly, as well, in the middle of the chapter. Let's pick up the narrative in 1 Chronicles 29:9
9 Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly.
David's Praise to God
10 Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said:
”Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
12 Both riches and honor come from You
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.
13 ”Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
14 But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You.
15 For we are aliens and pilgrims before You,
As were all our fathers;
Our days on earth are as a shadow,
And without hope.
16 ”O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. 17 I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You.
As I read the people's excitement, and then David's praises to God after all he had experienced in his life, here are the takeaways for me.
God is the ultimate owner, and He controls who receives power, might, strengthen and even riches and honor. It is our privilege to praise Him and worship Him no matter our life circumstances. When He puts it on our heart to be generous to a project with what He has given us, then we should give with a joyous heart, having been granted the opportunity to have something to give.
To be living in a first world country, knowing Jesus as our Savior, we have already won the lottery of life!
Thank you, Lord, for a renewed perspective. I needed it. Now back to home shopping with even more emphasis on praying to the one who ultimately has the ability to place us in the home that we will enjoy, according to the budget he has given us to manage. With this reminder I now I have less stress over the process. Thank you God for your timely word.
Do you have a life circumstance we could join you in praying over? If so, please email me at Gunnarj@khouse.org, and I'll make sure we lift you up on Wednesday as a staff.
If the Lord places it on your heart to financially support the ministry of Koinonia House please give electronically at store.khouse.org/donate
Servant / Steward / Christ Follower