What’s In Your Wallet?

Title: What's In Your Wallet?

Bible Book: 1 Chronicles 29 : 1-13

Author: James Merritt

Subject: Money; Materialism



Glitz, glitter, glamor—the term is now “bling.” The term "bling-bling" refers to the imaginary "sound" that is produced from light reflected by a diamond. Another far less fancy hip term for it is “stuff.” It is what millions of people long for, some steal and kill for, and others would sell their soul for.

“Stuff” is the stuff the world thinks life is made of. We all have “stuff.” We see it, want it buy it, insure it, display it, and measure our worth by how much we have of it. You buy a house and then you stuff that house with stuff. Comedian George Carlin said that a house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.

One of our favorite things to do with stuff is to store it. There are now more than 30,000 self-storage facilities in the country offering over a billion square feet for people to store their stuff. We now spend $12 billion a year just to pay someone to store our extra stuff.

We build our lives around getting stuff only to die and leave our stuff behind for our kids to fight over or for a complete stranger to take over. Wars are fought over stuff. Marriages disintegrate fighting over stuff. Children are neglected because parents are too busy getting stuff.

For the next four weeks we are going to talk about “stuff” or the modern day term “bling.” I know immediately that some people think that the preacher shouldn’t talk much about money, but Jesus talks about it more than any other subject, God has volumes to say on it, and it is one of the most critical pieces of our daily lives. The bible has more to say about “bling” than it does about prayer. I owe many people an apology because I now realize I haven’t talked about money enough!

God is not passionate about bling; He is passionate about people and about his glory. Bling is one of the primary tools God uses to get to the hearts of people and to bring glory to his name. That is why the bible has so much to say about it. Life is far more than stuff but how you see stuff, and use stuff, and handle stuff will determine both your life in this world and life in the world to come.

It was an advertising blitz that cost its company $5.4 million dollars in one month and $285 million dollars in one year. That blitz raised consumer awareness of its brand to 98% and now, just three years after being introduced, 48 million customers use its product. It asks one question that would and does continually ring in your ear. The question is - “What’s in your wallet?”

That is such a great question and I would like to ask it right now. I would like for you to take out your wallet, right now, and look inside of it and I want you to answer the question, “what’s in your wallet?” Believe it or not, every one of us in this room has the exact same thing in our wallet. We are going to find out in just a moment what is in our wallet.

The background for this first message today is found in 1 Chronicles 29. It is one of the most incredible events in the bible. In fact, it is so incredible that nothing quite like it has ever happened before or since. David is the king of Israel. Because of the hand of God upon that nation and upon David’s life, it was as the United States is today, the world’s great super-power. David is the richest man in the world. He is living in the most beautiful palace on earth.

There was a problem that David noticed and it began to really eat at his heart and his soul. While David lived in this palatial, ornate, beautiful palace, the people of God worshipped God in a tent. He knew something was wrong with that picture! David believed that God deserved far more than a tent as a place of worship.

The only problem was that God in his sovereign will and purpose did not want David to build his house. He wanted Solomon to build his house. David, with a great attitude, said, “If I can’t build it, then I will buy it. I will raise the money for it.” So, we read in verse 2 and 3 – "Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God the gold for the things of gold, and the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, onyx stones and inlaid stones, stones of antimony and stones of various colors, and all kinds of precious stones and alabaster in abundance. Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple.” (1 Chronicles 29:2-3, NASB

David wasn’t just giving to a building program and he wasn’t just building another building for the sake of building. Listen to the latter statement he makes in verse 1 – “For the temple is not for man, but for the Lord God.” (1 Chronicles 29:1, NASB)

That says something that we need to keep in mind about these buildings that we are in and this property that we are on. These buildings are not for you or me. This property is not meant to be a monument to me or anyone else. These buildings are for God. This land is for God. This church is for God. Every parking space out there is for God.

Realizing that, David leads the way in raising the money for this project. David was giving, not just out of the royal treasury, but out of his own pocket. "Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple, namely, 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the buildings.” (1 Chronicles 29:3-4, NASB)

Someone has calculated, in modern day dollars, that the value of David’s gift (just in silver) he gave $450 million dollars. In gold, he gave $17 billion dollars. What happens next is incredible.

David starts an avalanche of giving and the greatest, single, financial offering ever given in one day. Here is how it is described – “Then the rulers of the fathers' households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king's work, offered willingly; and for the service for the house of God they gave 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, and 10,000 talents of silver, and 18,000 talents of brass, and 100,000 talents of iron. Whoever possessed precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, in care of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.” (1 Chronicles 29: 6-9, NASB)

What would become known all over the world as “Solomon’s Temple” was paid for in one day. The big question I want to answer is “how? How was it that without being begged or put on a guilt trip or brow-beaten or pressured, the people came and willingly, with their whole hearts, gave such a huge offering for God’s work?” As you are going to see, they understood one key principle and it is the key takeaway for this day. Key take away: God owns it all.

After David and the people had finished giving this massive, humongous offering David offers up one of the greatest prayers in all of the bible. In this prayer, if you listen to what he said and see the truth that is in it, it will totally change your perspective on everything in this universe. Here is what David tells us in his prayer.

I. God Is The Owner Of Everything

Listen to the beginning of this prayer. “So David blessed the Lord in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, ‘blessed are you, O Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; yours is the dominion, O Lord, and you exalt yourself as head over all.’” (1 Chronicles 29:10-11, NASB)

Here is the king of the most powerful nation in the world, who now recognizes that the kingdom belongs, not to the king, but to the King of Kings. He realizes where the real throne is and he realizes the real king who is sitting on it.

If I could just say a word to the men here for a moment - we see things so differently than women do—or even David did. You see, we want to see the little kingdom that we live in as our kingdom. Our attitude is “look what I built” or “look what I bought.” I want all of you to repeat the following after me [say it out loud] – “God is the owner of everything.”

I read a story the other day about Lyndon Johnson, the former president of the United States. During his presidency, he was going out to the tarmac to be put on a helicopter to fly to Camp David. A young Air-Force corporal was escorting him. When they got to the tarmac, there were about fifty helicopters out there. The young man, trying to be helpful, pointed to one particular helicopter and said, “Mr. President, this is your helicopter sir.” President Johnson with a grin said, “Son, they are all my helicopters!”

God is the single owner and the sole proprietor of everything you have. Your clothes, your house, your car, your computer, your stocks, your bonds, your children, your CD players, your real estate, your investments, your golf clubs, everything you can think of – it all belongs to God.

I want to go back to that question that I asked originally - “What’s in your wallet?” Let me share with you one other thing that God himself says and then see if you can figure it out. Haggai 2:8 says, “The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:8, NASB)

Now, what is in your wallet? God’s money is in your wallet! It all belongs to God.

I cannot tell you how revolutionary that perspective and how life-changing that thought can be to your life and how you manage your stuff. If everything belongs to God and if he owns it all then there is no need for you to worry about your stuff, because it is not your stuff. It is all his stuff.

You will find real contentment and real satisfaction, both in God and in life, when you finally realize that God owns everything, controls everything, and provides everything. That thought leads to the second great thought.

II. God Is The Giver Of All Things

David continues to pray this magnificent prayer and he says again that God owns everything. He says in verse 12 – “Both riches and honor come from you.”

(1 Chronicles 29:12a, NASB)

God controls everything and he goes on to say, “You rule over all and in your hand is power and might.”

(1 Chronicles 29:12b, NASB)

And then God provides everything – “And it lies in your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.” (1 Chronicles 29:12c, NASB)

If that is true what else is there to say except what he says in verse 13? "Now therefore, our God, we thank you, and praise your glorious name.” (1 Chronicles 29:13, NASB)

All of a sudden in this prayer it dawns on David, as he looks at this great offering they gave, just where the offering really came from.

"But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from you, and from your hand we have given you. For we are sojourners before you, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build you a house for your holy name, it is from your hand, and all is yours.” (1 Chronicles 29:14-16, NASB)

Now put these two thoughts together. David says, “look at everything you have and remember this: (1) God owns it. It belongs to him. (2) God gave it. It comes from him.” That is God is not only the possessor of all things; he is the provider of all things.

That is on reason why we should never, ever be jealous of what other people have. Why be jealous of what someone else had if you understand (a) they don’t own it – God does and (b) God gave it to them.

You may be thinking, “I’m not buying that. God didn’t give me anything. Everything I have I worked for it. I earned it. I saved for it. I bought it and I built it.” Correction. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who is giving you power to make wealth.”(Deuteronomy 8:18, NASB) Who gave you the ability? Who gave you the skill? Who gave you the mental capacity? Who gave you the physical strength to gain your wealth and to use your wealth? God did.

God has made every human being unique. We all have different abilities to earn money. Some people have the ability to earn more than others. We have several men in this church who have told me, on occasion, that they understand that God has given them a special ability to make money. That is why some people can write great books and compose outstanding pieces of music and paint unbelievable pictures and produce magnificent movies and design engineering marvels and develop outstanding businesses, because God has given them that gift and that ability, but it all comes from him.

Here is what I want all of us to stop and think about these two thoughts that I have given you. God is the owner of everything. God is the giver of everything, but here is the huge question I want to answer today. “Why has the owner of everything given to us all things?” Suppose you have something that is very important and you want to get it to someone who needs it, so you wrap it up and you hand it over to this guy from Federal Express. Let me ask you a question. “What would you think if instead of delivering that package the Federal Express agent took it home, opened it, and kept it for himself?”

I know what you would say, “Who does that guy think he is? That package didn’t belong to him. All he was is the middle man. I gave him that package so he could get that package to the person that I wanted to have it to begin with.” Listen carefully. Just because God has given you money and some of you a lot of money, doesn’t mean he intends for it to stay in your pocket.

You don’t have the right to blow it, waste it or spend it just any way you want to. The fact that God is the owner of everything and the giver of all things tells us.

III. We Are The Manager Of His Things

Verse 17 is the key to this entire prayer that David prays. "Since I know, O my God, that you try the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to you.” (1 Chronicles 29:17, NASB)

David says something in this prayer that you normally would miss. I missed it myself for many years, but it is really the key that unlocks just what this entire episode is all about. He says in verse 17, "Since I know, O my God, that you try the heart.” (1 Chronicles 29:17, NASB)

Do you see that little phrase “try the heart”? David, in effect, said “Now I get it. Money is a test - the way I see it - the way I spend it - the way I use it – that is a test. Money in and of itself is morally neutral. It is neither good nor bad, but we all manage it. Our stuff becomes a test of where we are spiritually and where our priorities are. The question that God is going to ask every one of us when we stand before him is not “How much did you make?” But, “How did you use what I gave you?”

We will flunk this test if we don’t see that God trusts us, by giving us all things, to see if we will trust him in the way that we manage what really belongs to him.

Think about this. What is the number one job of a manager? A manager has one goal- to use what the owner gives to him to achieve the owner’s goal for the owner’s glory. I will give you an illustration. There is a member of our church, who is one of my very best friends, who manages what little money I have. He has one job. He is to manage my money to achieve my goals. When I first sat down with him several years ago the first question he asked me was, “What are your financial goals?” If he had said to me, “I want to tell you how I want to use your money to benefit me” I would have been out his door in two seconds.

God does not give us what we have to use as we see fit for our benefit. He gives us what we have to use it as he sees fit for his glory. What I just said you will never believe, nor practice, if you do not buy into this one key preface and principle. God owns it all.

If you still don’t believe that and you still think you are the owner of your stuff and your things and your money, I want you to answer one question for me - “Tell me one thing you will own after you die?” For most of us in this room, fifty to sixty to seventy years from now, ever penny you have will be in someone else’s bank account. Every parcel of real estate you own will be in someone else’s name. You are going to leave this world the same way you came into it – stark naked and without one penny in your pocket.

The point is God wants you to do with his stuff the same thing I want my financial advisor to do with mine – invest it wisely! You can invest your money and your riches in the only thing that is going to last forever. Do you know what that is? IT IS PEOPLE! All these buildings and all this land is simply to lead people to love God, serve others and share their story.

Imagine what would happen in this church if we had a brand new perspective on our stuff, our stocks, our bonds, our real estate, or our bank accounts. We would start thinking of ways that our stuff could be used to love God, serve others and share our story. We would see a river of resources flowing to God’s work that would multiply our influence for Christ more than we could imagine. Many of us would be freed from the bondage of always getting more stuff. Marriages would be restored and families would be happier affection and attention are substituted for accumulation.

One more time, I want you to take out your wallet and look at what is inside of it. Now, I want you to hold your wallet up to God and I want you to repeat this after me, “God, you are the owner of everything. You are the giver of all things. I am the manager of your things. Thank you.” Now the question is, “How can we best use what you own and what you have given for your glory?”


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