The Principle of Giving
2 Samuel 24:24
And the king said to Araunah, No; but I will surely buy it of you at a price…

I. THE TRUE MOTIVE TO BENEVOLENCE, "offering unto the Lord." His offerings were gifts to the Lord; and our offerings, too, must be gifts to the Lord. There may be a sense in which we can give nothing to Him, and there are times in which He reminds us of His sublime and eternal independence of us. We give to each other what we may happen to need. God needs nothing. Into the infinite ocean of His nature no streams are ever Seen to run. Unlike the oceans of the earth, it is never supplied, but always supplies. Streams flow from it, but never to it. They flow with a ceaseless and unflagging volume and speed. They flow to angels and to men. They bear life, and strength, and wisdom, and grace, and love. These streams ere carrying to-day light to unnumbered worlds, health to unnumbered living things, comfort to unnumbered weary ones, hope to unnumbered despairing ones. A father gives to his son a plot of ground that he may turn it into a garden. He gives him the tools with which to prepare it. He gives him the seeds from which he is to raise the fruits and flowers. He gives him a home to live in. He gives him his daily food. At length, the father finds on his table the richest fruit and fairest flowers which the garden has produced as a loving acknowledgment from his son. What is this acknowledgment? It is a gift, and yet it is only a gift of what is his own. In this manner, and in this only, we can give to God. To offer to the Lord; this expression lies at the root of all true service. To the Lord was a sort of touchstone, which the Apostle carried with him everywhere, and by which he tested both his own doings and those of others. You know that in life everything depends upon the motive from which it springs. Man is what his motives are, and he is no better and no worse. The outward, visible deed we may perform, or the audible word we may speak, have no meaning to us, until we have first ascertained the motive which incited them. It is only too common to think of the giving of money as a lower branch of Christian duty. On the contrary, that giving may be the highest and most religious act of the godly man. Generosity may be one of their constitutional peculiarities. It is so with many, and it may be so with them. They were born with it. But there are others of a very different character, in whom the generous giving of their means would be the sublimest shape in which their religion could make itself manifest.

II. THE MEASURE OF CHRISTIAN LIBERALITY. "I will not offer unto the Lord of that which costs me nothing." This was but the negative form of David's noble principle. He meant that he would give to the Lord of that which cost him something. This principle, interpreted widely, and under the inspiration of a grateful love, would yield a sufficiency of means for carrying on without embarrassment every Christian agency in the world. The spirit of Christian liberality is evermore a spirit of self-denial. It is prompted and fed by the thought of Him who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich. The vital nerve which runs through it is one of gratitude for infinite mercy. And those whose Christianity has cost them the most are the men who will be faithful unto death. Will Luther, will Melanchthon, will Zwingle, will Calvin, will Latimer, will Knox, will Ridley, will Hooper, forsake the reformation? Nay; they will go for it to prison if needful, or even unto death, but they will not deny it. Having love as the impulse to our benevolence, its measure will be determined by the nature of the case which appeals for our help, and also by the means which God has placed at our disposal. Here is false measure! It is stamped with the words, "What have I given before?" This carries with it a double falsehood. It may be too heavy, or it may be too light. This weight will be condemned at the last day. There is another weight, stamped with the words, "How little can I give?" Of this weight I say nothing, nor of the man who uses it, except this, that he that soweth sparingly shall read also sparingly. Gratitude demands that we give to the Lord. Giving to the Lord is as Christian a work as prayer or the avoidance of sin. Giving must always be tending towards sacrifice and self-denial

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

WEB: The king said to Araunah, "No; but I will most certainly buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to Yahweh my God which cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

Service Costs Sacrifice
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