While I was preparing breakfast this morning, I had my eye half on a short documentary about Randall Cunningham, a former NFL quarterback. Among the things mentioned in the documentary was his faith in Christ. A faith that had to have been tested when his two and a half year old son died in the family hot tub that Cunningham also used to baptize people.
He said something very interesting in the documentary. That he considered his son’s life a gift from God. Something that God let him have for a short time, but took back for His own reasons and purposes later.
On reading this passage, it made me think of the documentary and Cunningham’s words. Because David said something very similar here. In talking about the gifts that they were giving to God to build the temple, David said,
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 comes from your hand…O Lord our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. (verses 14, 16)
David recognized what Cunningham did. That everything we have comes from God. Everything good we have in life is a gift from God. And because of that, David had no problem giving back to God what really belonged to God anyway. He saw money, treasure, and the other things on this earth as a temporary thing. Because David knew that his life itself was temporary. He said in verse 15,
We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow…
Sometimes people wonder why God asks us to tithe or give offerings. After all, God doesn’t need the money, right?
No, God doesn’t need our money. Nor do I think that he especially wants it. But what he does want is our hearts. And he wants to make sure that he is number one in our lives, not our money. David prayed,
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. (17)
When God asks us to give, he tests our hearts. He tests our motivation in giving, or in not giving as the case may be. Are we giving out of a willing heart? Are we recognizing that everything we have comes from him anyway. And if we’re not giving, why not? Is it because we are too in love with the world around us?
I think back to the story of Randall Cunningham. Even today, he continues to baptize people in that same hot tub. And in the documentary, the narrator made an interesting comment. “In the same tub where his son died, people are being born anew.”
Cunningham’s faith was tested. It wasn’t a matter of holding on to money, however. It was a matter of holding on to his son’s life. He could’ve questioned why. He could’ve become bitter. Instead, he recognized that this life God had given him was a gift. It was a gift meant to be received for a short time. And so he gave his son back to God, not with bitterness, but with thankfulness. How about you? Do you recognize where the things you have come from? And do you recognize God’s sovereignty in your life. As David sang,
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. (11-12)
And so he concluded,
Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.（１３）
May you have that kind of heart each and every day, having a heart loyal to God, and overflowing with thankfulness towards him.