26 And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;
27 To them which were in Bethel, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,
28 And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,
29 And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,
30 And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach,
31 And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt. 1 Sam. 30:26-31
I know of a man, right here in my backyard, who has never owned a bank account in his life. Granted, in Africa, the majority of people do not own bank accounts because they are poor and cannot afford to. But not this man. This man could have had two or even three bank accounts if he wanted to. He was educated and he had a good-paying job. But the only money he ever owned was the money that you would find in his clothes pockets at any given time.
This man was a good friend of mine and one day I asked him why he did not keep his money in a bank account. Did he fear it would be stolen?
“Oh no”, he answered. “But I cannot possibly keep money in a bank while there are so many people suffering from a lack of it.”
I knew well what he meant. I had seen him go – and sometimes I had accompanied him – at every end of month, from house to poor house delivering bags of charcoal and assorted groceries to less fortunate families and to widows. He used a pick-up truck which he borrowed from a fellow brother in the church. (The man could have bought a car of his own but he chose not to.)
In church, needy brethren would pass him notes at the end of every service asking him for financial help of one kind or another. He never refused help to anyone.
He was like a government ministry. He had a long list of needs over which he pored at the end of every month; a list, not of his own needs, but of others’. Then he would jump into action.
Twenty years ago, this man started building his own house. To this day, that house stands there, unfinished. The man and his family live in a rented house. But his sacrificial love for God and for God’s people has never waned. If anything, it has only increased.
This is a true story. This is a man whom I have known for over 30 years. I know everything that goes on with him. The testimony written here is true.
Some stories sound like fairy tales, but so would David’s story have sounded also were it not written to be believed. But it is a story of an incredibly generous heart. It is clear here that David’s joy was in sharing what he had with his brethren. He sent gifts
“unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends… and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.”
This is the heart of God. No doubt David, as all men, was tempted to hoard his spoils and to use them for himself and his family. But David rose above such a temptation.
I heard a preacher say he was a billionaire. Unless I am mistaken, being a billionaire means that that person is worth a billion dollars in his personal assets over and above his necessary needs like food and clothing. A billion dollars! I heard about another who owns jets and mines (note the s’s). Another billionaire preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I wonder where one would find the spiritual nerve to own billions, or even millions in this needy world. But be that as it may be, I am assured that the true riches for a man of the Spirit lie in his heart. God’s true spiritual riches reside in the heart that is willing to lose. It is the heart that is ready to share whatever one has with the needy. The Bible says of our Lord Jesus Christ:
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9)
Where there is grace there is much giving, much sacrifice. This is what we see with our Lord Jesus Christ, with David; and with the Macedonian church (2 Cor. 8:1).
[The ubiquitous African cockerel silhouetted against a fading eastern sky]