Who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to make this freewill offering? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 1 Chronicles 29:14 

Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8 NKJV

If you have some time today, read the 29th chapter of I Chronicles. The first nine verses detail all the gifts that the people have given for building the temple. Then, starting in verse 10, David prays and praises the Lord. He says that all the wealth and honor that anyone of them has, is from God. Then, we get to verse 14 – the only way the people can make this generous offering is because they got everything from God. Or as one translation puts it “we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (NIV) Good to hear David being humble and not an arrogant king.

In Matthew we read what Jesus includes in his charge to the disciple who are being sent out. They are to heal, drive out demons, and even raise the dead. Again, the message is that they have received much, and they need to freely give to others. This thought is repeated in other verses, including: “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). If we have been blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and more we in turn must use these gifts to help others.

Whether we have a little or a lot, God has provided it for us. Maybe we think that since we earn the money it’s all ours? Well, we have the talent, the training and the health and time to do our jobs and earn that money. Most of us have a safe place to live, sufficient food (sometimes too much food), clothes to wear, money to spend on fun activities. God expects us to acknowledge Him as the source of all that we have and to use it for others as well as ourselves. Today is Ash Wednesday when we will hear these words at our church service: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. “ A good time for us all to remember that all we have is from our Lord.

Loving God, on this Ash Wednesday, we cannot deny how much you have given to us. We do not have enough tongues to thank you. Thank you for the breath in our lungs, a mind to learn of your ways, a voice to praise you, and a peace that surpasses understanding.  As we receive from your bounty, help us to find it within our hearts to give to others who are in need. For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Chris Gabel