God doesn’t need our stuff. He really doesn’t. He doesn’t need our money or our time or our smarts or our education or our experience or our stuff. He just doesn’t.
The God who created the universe and everything in it can do anything he wants to do, when he wants to do it and how he wants to do it. He will never have a true need for us or our stuff. Seas parting, walls crumbling, donkeys talking, dry bones dancing, dead man walking…the Bible is full of story after story where God does things that are impossible and illogical to make us know that he is God. Yet, in all his grace and mercy and goodness, he invites and allows us to participate in what he is doing so that we may ultimately know him and his heart more intimately—reflecting his love, obeying his word and making his name famous among the nations.
In 1 Chronicles 28-29, God wanted a temple to be built and for it to be built by Solomon. The building plans were complicated, specific and provided by his father, King David. They’d require a construction crew, craftsmen and lots and lots of stuff. Stuff that belonged to the people. Stuff that came from faraway. Stuff that was expensive and valuable. Stuff that was common and cheap. Stuff that only one person had. Stuff that everyone had. Lots and lots of stuff, all gathered for a project that God wanted to be completed on his time and in his ways and by his people.
The Israelites who chose to participate in the building of the temple had an incredible opportunity like no others before then and no others since then. They would be constructing their house of worship and by their work, honoring the God of the universe. They would get to have a part in executing the exact building plans as described by the Lord who created the mountains and the seas. The One who rescued them from Egypt. The God who lead them to victory over so many nations, time and time again.
This was the God who they would get to honor. This was the place where they would make their mark on history. They were invited into the story and thousands of years later, we’re still talking about this building that they built.
I can’t help but wonder if the men who did the hard labor and the woman who wove the fabrics had any idea that their work would be such a focal point of the world thousands of years later? If they had a clue that the temple that they were building would entice millions to travel the globe, just to place a prayer between two ancient stones? Or if the story of their sacrifice would remind someone halfway around the world in an entire different language reading a book printed on a machine not even fathomed at that time would be inspired to consider their great efforts and how God provided for such a massive undertaking…all because each person chose to participate?
God doesn’t need our stuff. He just doesn’t. But when he invites us to be characters in his story, no matter big or small, we may never know the entire picture this side of heaven, and what a shame it would be to miss out on the opportunity to be reminded that none of our stuff truly belonged to us anyway.
“‘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.'”
(1 Chronicles 29:14)