Wouldn't you like to be able to say that you left a legacy that God continued to visit? I think we all would.
And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” So David went up at Gad's word, as the LORD commanded. And when Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming on toward him. And Araunah went out and paid homage to the king with his face to the ground. And Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be averted from the people.” Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel. (2 Samuel 24:18-25 ESV)
My formerly-oft reminder to visiting readers (which, by the way, I don't know who to credit as saying, but it's so good, you know I didn't): Text without context is pretext for prooftext. So, if you know what that means, hold on, I'll get to the context of the passage above. If you don't know and would like to, let's discuss it. If you don't know and don't care, meh...you should.
Check it: we don't HAVE to only give our new stuff to us.
Let me illustrate with pots and pans...
I remember listening to a conversation once about some ladies purchasing new pots and pans. One of the ladies said they didn't really need new pots and pans, but they needed new ones at church, so she bought some new ones, kept the new ones and took her old ones to church, saying, "'cause they still worked just fine." Hmmm...I say, I say....hmmmm...what? IF the church needed new ones, why not take the new ones to church? Why does God get your okay seconds and you get to keep your really nice firsts?
The second lady said she DID need some new pots, but like the first lady, she took her old ones to church, saying, "'cause I noticed the church needed some." Wait. What? IF you "needed" new ones, BUT your old ones were good enough for church, did you "need" new ones? What? I was so confused -- not really, I'm feigning it, even now, for literary effect.
Is this an issue of stewardship of stupidship? Hold up...that was tongue-in-cheek. I know what it is. It's the enemy stopping people who want to do good from understanding what good really is. After all, diligent believers know things like "The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1 ESV)...that is, just like the "god of this world" blinds the minds of believers, he also seeks to confuse believers as well (ref: 2 Cor. 4:4). All of the pots and pans belong to God. The Rachel Ray set chilling in the kitchen of this house belong to God, though I don't blame Him for some of the stuff I cook. The pans at Wal Mart belong to God. The new pans belong to God. The old pans belong to God. The metal pans will be made of one day in the future belongs to God, even the still unmined metal from below the Earth's surface. Point made, right?
So, if we know that, why do we only seem to do what's convenient?
I can philosophically solve this problem, if I type enough words, but I'll leave my reader(s) to contemplate the implications for themselves and struggle with their own conscience and own practice. It's better that way; the Holy Spirit will work uniquely in people, in ways I never could.
I'll simply say IF God shows us a need, let's consider offering firsts. If your pots work, keep them. Buy the church, or your neighbor, or whoever the new pots. I won't get into clothes and cars and groceries-we'll-buy-for-others-that-we'd-never-buy-for-ourselves and the host of other things we see people need.
Brace yourself; CONTEXT: King David called for a census of Israel. He wanted to determine how many fighting men were available in the nation. God did not approve of David's census. God, knowing people's hearts, knew David was physically signifying what he probably would never say out loud: "I want to know what we have, because (1) I'm proud of what I've done -- heavy on the "I", and (2) I want to know what my kingdom's military capacity is so that I can be sure of what I'm working with." On the one hand, David revealed a self-centered arrogance. On the other, David revealed that he lacked trust in the Lord in this way. (ref: 2 Samuel 24:1-9)
God judged David. David repented. (ref: 2 Samuel 24:10-17)
To honor God, David decided to build an altar. Good move. David found a spot he liked, and, as he approached the owner of the spot, a threshing floor to be precise, the gentleman offered to give David the field. The gentleman, Araunah, was a neat guy, and I appreciate his generosity. However, David needed to make an expression of generosity, not Araunah. David turned Araunah's offer down, insisting that his own act of repentance cost him something. (ref: 2 Samuel 24:18-25)
Now, what might be most interesting of all...this threshing floor that David purchases later becomes the location his son, Solomon, uses to build the Temple. David honored God and it became a legacy that remains to this day.
We just can't expect God to bless stingy, self-centered hearts. He wants us to mirror His nature, to reflect who He is to a world that needs to see Him. That ain't gonna happen with second-hand pots. God is infinitely more gracious than that.
As for me and my house, we're going to off pots that cost us something.