Who then is willing … to give?

Ian McBride is a church elder, Christian businessman and leader, and a trustee on the GC3 Board.  What follows is a summary of a devotion he brought to the Board late last year.

1 Chron 29:5 says, “Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” (NIV) or “And now, how about you? Who among you is ready and willing to join in the giving?” (The Message)

King David is approaching the twilight of his life and reign over Israel.  In his final days he (and indeed the entire nation) is primarily concerned with his succession planning (ch 28), and secondly with providing for the building of the temple (ch 29).  Succession, and estate planning, is a subject not too far from the minds of those in their senior years.  It is within this setting that the writer describes the largest giving campaign ever known to the nation of Israel.

David gave from the national institutional wealth towards the temple project. (29:2 & 1 Chron 22) As King of Israel he had both the authority and the expectation upon him to do so.

David then added to this from his personal wealth (v3) which was also great.

Leading by example, he then calls on the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes, commanders, and officials to do likewise.  “Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” (v5). What follows is an outpouring of generosity on a national scale.

“The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord.  David the king also rejoiced greatly.” (v9)  A generous person gives freely and wholeheartedly.

David’s prayer of worship and thanksgiving that follows exalts God , and his glory and majesty, suddenly putting into perspective his own position.  A generous person understands the true source of their wealth.

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?  Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what has come from your hand”.  (v14)

“I know, my God, that you test the heart, and are pleased with integrity.  All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent” (v17)  A generous person is a person of integrity, their wealth is generated for the benefit of others, not solely for their personal benefit.

“Stats NZ data shows 63% of household net wealth was held by individuals aged 55 and over in mid-2018. As these individuals are now 58 and older – and will be at least 78 years of age in 2041 – we can assume they will transfer, or donate to charity, around $1.15 trillion in wealth over the next two decades on the basis of an 80% distribution.” (Bryan Gaynor “The greatest wealth transfer in history” Jul 2021)

A Colmar Brunton poll in 2015 however revealed that 40% of baby boomers have little or no retirement savings.  “There are some who are relatively wealthy and rich, but there are a large number who are under financial stress” (Chris Vaughan, ED Colmar Brunton, “Baby boomers misunderstood and untapped” Dec 2015).  The wealth gap between wealthy and poor is great. 

That said, there is an unprecedented level of wealth within some of those aged over their fifties in New Zealand today.  And over the next few decades those people will be thinking about their succession and their estate planning.  For those in that category who are also followers of Jesus, it would serve us well to think through for what purpose will that wealth be used?  Will it be used for the praise of the Lord our God?