Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” 1st Chronicles 21:24 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
I’m going to share a story with you today that I have told my congregation more than once. Whenever I share it, I always have people come up to me later and discuss it with me. Their comments are generally the same – something along the line of, “You know, that’s obvious, but I just never had thought about it that way before.”About 20 years ago our congregation was asked to help with disaster relief after a tornado hit the small town of Glade, Mississippi. Our denomination’s relief agency, The International Disaster Emergency Service (IDES) was sending $10,000 for us to distribute to those whose homes had been destroyed. We traveled to the Salvation Army operations center to see where we could best put the money to use. I asked the director there, “What do you folks need?” The director told me, “Well, let me show you first what we don’t need.”With that, he opened a side door and took me into a high school gymnasium. Covering the entire basketball court, and piled high to the ceiling was used clothing. There were shirts from the 1970’s with big collars—the type that Elvis might have worn to a weenie roast. There were clothes that were yellowed and stained with spaghetti sauce. There were clothes that were faded and torn. There were—get this—clothes that were missing all their buttons because the people clipped the fasteners off to save them before they gave them to charity.The director said, “People think they’re being so generous when they clean out their closets and give us all their old clothing. But, when folks have been through a disaster, they don’t want to wear somebody else’s worn-out clothing. They want to wear their own clothing, or at least to have some money to be able to buy a bit of new clothing. Money is the thing that is always in short supply. People think that they’re being so generous. But really, they’re just cleaning the junk out of their closets.”King David once wanted to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. A man offered to give him the land for the burnt offering at no cost. But David refused this generous offer. He said that he would not offer to the Lord God that thing that had cost him nothing. David is known in the Bible as “The Man After God’s Own Heart.” I think that part of the reason he earned this distinction is because he understood the difference between giving a gift to the Lord (which costs something) and simply cleaning out one’s closet.Give of your best to your Maker, this week, dear mama. Set the example for your little ones so that they will grow up to have loving and giving hearts. Always remember, “It’s not what we give, but what we share; the gift without the giver is bare.”Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” *Sing that title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 17) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the old clothes get sold at the annual Youth Group rummage sale). You should write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.