#InGodWeTrust Series 
  • There’s no doubt we are living in unstable and turbulent times, but there has never been a better time choose to have all-out trust in our God. For our culture, the topic of money and giving is one of the most difficult things to address, yet the Bible speaks abundantly on it. We have been created to say with tremendous faith, “I trust in you, Lord...my times are in your hand!”
1. In God We Trust: Because I Possess Nothing Of My Own [1 Chronicles 29:10-22]
  • God owns it all, from beginning to end. “For all things come from You.”
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance - What are the central ideas of this text?
    • God owns it all, from beginning to end. (I Chronicles 29:11 & 12)
    • God asks us to renounce any claim of ownership. (I Chronicles 29:14-16)
    • We can trust in God for everything, and in that, worship Him with joy and thanks. (I Chronicles 29:20-22)
  • Implications - What questions should the listener be asking?
    • What does it mean to say that God owns it all?
    • What does it mean to renounce any claim of ownership?
    • Why can we trust fully in God when it comes to possessions?
Talk it Over Discussion Guide 
  • Interpretation - What is the text telling/showing us?
    • Why does David begin his prayer in the context of the call to the building of the Temple, by praising God?
    • What is the point of David’s saying that “all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours?”
    • What is it about owning all there is that means God has power and might and rules over all?
    • Why did the people give for the building of the Temple?
    • From where did the people obtain what they gave to, and were going to give for. the building of the Temple?
    • How does God “test the heart and why?” (I Chronicles 29:17)
    • What does testing the heart have to do with possessions?
    • What is “uprightness, and why does God take pleasure in it? (I Chronicles 29:17)
    • What is God’s will as it relates to use of His possessions?
    • Why does acknowledging that God owns it all and we own nothing lead us to worship?
  • Implementation - What should the listeners response be?
    • Why should you bless the Lord and extol His greatness and power and glory?
    • What is the relationship between riches and possessions and God’s glory?
    • Can you bless the Lord for His greatness? How can you do that?
    • What is your attitude toward your possessions? What change in your attitude might be suggested by this passage?
    • What does it mean to trust in God in general? What does it mean to trust in God with regard to possessions?
    • Can you renounce your ownership in possessions? How can you do that?
    • What does it mean for you to renounce your ownership of possessions?
    • Can you trust God to provide for you?
    • Are you thankful and joyful that God owns everything and that you can trust Him to provide for you? How can you express that thanks and joy?
Sermon Teaching Notes (as prepared by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation - What's generally going on in this area of scripture?
These Notes mark the start of a Series entitled “In God We Trust.” The Series is about money, at least on the surface. However, the Series is really about more than money; it's about the truth that God is at the center of everything, and that what we possess actually belongs to God and we are just stewards of what He permits us to have, including money (our “treasure”), but also including our time and our talents. And further, because God owns everything and He is the God who provides (indeed, one of His names in the Old Testament is “Jehovah Jireh” which means “God will provide”), we can trust Him in everything. Such a position frees believers when it comes to money: it frees us from loss of possessions; it frees us from worry; it frees us to give; it frees us to invest for the good of the His kingdom; and it frees us to be content and use His resources wisely. As we work our way through this Series, then, be prepared for the Holy Spirit to change your thinking, to free you from a view of money that revolves around self, and to help you trust Him in everything and for everything.

The starting point for the Series is that we trust in God because we possess nothing of our own. That can be a hard thing to admit because we do have possessions; we have things, we have money, we have other “assets.” We list these possessions on our “asset sheet” when we see a financial consultant; we convey these possessions by our last wills and testaments; we give some of these possessions away; we invest some of these possessions to generate more possessions; we work to earn secure more possessions in terms of salary, pay and benefits. I could go on; but the point is that we all think of all of these things – this stuff, and this money, and these stocks, and this whatever - as mine, or as yours, or as ours, and we exercise control over these things. And beyond this, there are laws and regulations that govern ownership and control and how we engage in transactions with these things, and all of these laws and regulations derive from the concept of ownership rights and obligations. So, whether we consider ourselves rich or poor or somewhere in between, we think we own whatever it is we have, and that it is our job to provide for ourselves through the use and application of these things.

David was king over the nation Israel for some 40 years, having been anointed as king by God Himself (I Samuel 16:1-3, 11-13. See also II Samuel 2:4, 7; 5:1-5). As king, David had many possessions, and would certainly have been considered a very rich man. He had a palace in Jerusalem (II Samuel 5:9-12) and immense wealth (I Chronicles 29:3-5). One thing David desired to do was to build a Temple in Jerusalem for the worship of the God of Israel. However, God did not permit David to build the Temple because he was a man of war (II Samuel 7:4-13), but said instead that David’s offspring would build the Temple (II Samuel 7:12 & 13; I Chronicles 22:7-10). So, as David neared the end of his life, he proclaimed his son, Solomon, to succeed him as (I Chronicles 23:1; 29:21-25), and thus it became Solomon’s task to build the Temple. During his lifetime, David had gathered great amounts of materials for construction of the Temple (I Chronicles 22:1-5, 14-16).

Before he died, David assembled the leaders and officials of Israel and his son, Solomon, to charge them regarding Solomon and his appointment as king, and to call them to the building of the Temple (I Chronicles 28:1-10). Moreover, he gave Solomon plans and specifications for the Temple itself and for those who would lead in worship and service, and for the outfitting of the Temple (I Chronicles 28:11-21). Finally, David charged all the people (“the whole assembly”) who were gathered to give of their possessions to add to what he had gathered for the building of the Temple, and challenged them by telling of how much of his own personal possessions he had given for the work (I Chronicles 29:1-5). And the people responded and gave generously (I Chronicles 29:6-9). It seems, then, that David and the people of Israel thus gave from what they owned.

But in his subsequent prayer to God before the assembly, David rightly put everything that had happened, and the giving of possessions for the building of the Temple, into the right context, namely that we possess nothing of our own. David begins with praise to God (I Chronicles 29:10b), and an acknowledgment of His greatness, power, glory, victory and majesty (I Chronicles 29:11a). Clearly, David is confirming that God is the beginning and end of everything; that He is beyond great and glorious; that He is the creator, the all majestic One; and that all praise rightly extend to Him in evey way from every person. (Compare this thought with the beginning of the approach to prayer taught by Jesus found in Matthew 6:9 & 10.) The implication flowing from this truth, David prays, is that everything is God’s and is under His reign and rule (I Chronicles 29:11b & 12). David put it this way in Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” (See also Job 41:11; Haggai 2:8) So the clear truth is “God owns it all.” And the flip side of that truth is that we own nothing! We need to acknowledge this truth, and even thank God for it. (I Chronicles 29:13)

But what is to be our response to the foregoing truth beyond the acknowledgment of it? I believe Jesus gave the answer in His response to the rich ruler who wanted to know what he must do to inherit eternal life (Luke 18:18). At the end of His conversation with this man, Jesus said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22) In essence what Jesus was asking the rich man to do was to renounce any claim of ownership in his possessions (the man was rich, Luke 18:23). Jesus wants us to rely totally on Him, not on our possessions, as the way to true life; which is to say, we should trust totally in God, and not in possessions which, just by the way, are not ours at all as they belong to Him. Thus, we need to go beyond agreeing that God owns everything and take the affirmative step in mind and attitude that we don’t own anything. This step alone sets one free from possessions owning the person! Why worry about money or possessions if we have none anyway, and since our Father, God, has everything and I am His child! It comes down to trust, specifically, trust in God. But for what? For everything. God knows our needs already (Matthew 6:25-32; I Timothy 6:6-8), and He promises to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19. See also, Matthew 6:33b; 7:11; Romans 8:32b). It is within God’s power to provide, and it is in His will to provide. David says as much in his prayer: “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” (I Chronicles 29:12) We can trust in God indeed.

Though everything belongs to God, it is also true that He entrusts some of what is His to us (Matthew 25:14). In short, God allows us to hold onto some of His possessions, and doing so places on us a stewardship responsibility (in more modern day terms, a “fiduciary” responsibility). A steward (or a fiduciary) is one who takes care of money or other assets for another person and for that person’s benefit in accordance with that person’s instructions (e.g., Joseph as shown in Genesis 39:4-6). Modern day fiduciaries include, for example, Executors of a Will, Trustees of a trust, and Directors of a corporation. Such fiduciaries are held to a high standard of ethical and moral responsibility, and have duties of care, loyalty, good faith, confidentiality, prudence, and candor. Moreover, fiduciaries must account for that which is in their charge (I Chronicles 29:17. See also Matthew 25:19-30). If everything belongs to God, and we treat possessions that way, renouncing our own ownership in them, and if we understand we hold God’s possessions in trust for Him and for His uses, then those possessions are to serve Him not ourselves. And serving God with His possessions in fact totally excludes serving self with them. (You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24)

In David’s case, he recognized that all the offerings made for the building of the Temple, though given by himself and his fellow Israelites, were from God Himself, the God who holds their lives in His very hand (I Chronicles 29:14-16). Giving of those possessions for the building of the Temple amounted to an offering to God, given freely and joyously, and ultimately for His use in keeping people’s hearts in line with God’s thoughts through their worship in the very Temple that was to be built (I Chronicles 29:18 & 19). One’s attitude, following one’s renunciation of ownership, is thus to be from the heart, is to be real and voluntary, and not one of a begrudging submission which would suggest one’s still holding on to possessions. In that proper and “upright” heart attitude comes even more worship of the God who owns all and who provides, which was exactly the response of the people David addressed.As a result, they blessed God, they worshiped Him, they gave offerings to Him, and they were glad in heart. (I Chronicles 29:20-22)

Recognizing that God owns everything from beginning to end, renouncing our own ownership of anything, and instead recognizing that we are stewards of that which He chooses to entrust into our care, is part and parcel of trusting in God. And God is worthy of our trust because He promises to provide for us, knowing all our needs. In the end of it all, this knowledge and this way of living frees us to worship the God who is worthy, and to hold loosely that which He has entrusted to us, using it for His glory and honor.