The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. 1 Chronicles 29:9
Researchers tell us there’s a link between generosity and joy: those who give their money and time to others are happier than those who don’t. This has led one psychologist to conclude, “Let’s stop thinking about giving as a moral obligation, and start thinking of it as a source of pleasure.”
While giving can make us happy, I question whether happiness should be the goal. If we’re only generous to people or causes that make us feel good, what about the more difficult or mundane needs requiring our support?
Scripture links generosity with joy too, but on a different basis. After giving his own wealth toward building the temple, King David invited the Israelites to also donate (1 Chronicles 29:1–5). The people responded generously, giving gold, silver, and precious stones joyously (vv. 6–8). But notice what their joy was over: “The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord” (v. 9, italics added). Scripture never tells us to give because it will make us happy but to give willingly and wholeheartedly to meet a need. Joy often follows.
As missionaries know, it can be easier to raise funds for evangelism than for administration because believers in Jesus like the feeling of funding frontline work. Let’s be generous toward other needs as well. After all, Jesus freely gave Himself to meet our needs (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Why do you think generosity and joy are connected? What “unexciting” need could benefit from your generous giving?
Father God, thank You for the joy found in giving. Give me a generous heart even toward ordinary needs.
In addition to David inviting the people to give toward the construction of the temple, 1 Chronicles 29 also shows him passing the throne on to Solomon, whom the people accept as their new king (vv. 21–28). David’s life, as well as his rule, was marked by bloody conflict, but Solomon—whose name comes from the Hebrew word for “peace”—would have a very different kind of rule. The “golden age” of Solomon would see Israel attain an unprecedented prosperity and influence as the wisdom of the king gained renown throughout the ancient Near East. Additionally, Solomon’s reign was marked by extensive building projects, including the temple and his own palace (constructed over some thirteen years).