Give Until It Hurts
We have an expression “One should give until it hurts”. The quote comes from a variety of places. Mother Teresa said “This is the meaning of true love, to give until it hurts.” Jesus would say the greatest love would one that gives all (John 15:13). In the Old Testament there is an interesting example of giving until it hurts. Let us look at 1 Chronicles 21 starting at verse 18
Now the angel of the Lord had commanded Gad to say to David that David should go up and raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at Gad’s word, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord. 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat. He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David and went out from the threshing floor and paid homage to David with his face to the ground. 22 And David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the Lord—give it to me at its full price—that the plague may be averted from the people.” 23 Then Ornan said to David, “Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan 600 shekels[a] of gold by weight for the site. 26 And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. 28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 29 For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon, 30 but David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.
If you read earlier David had messed up badly. God told him not to take a census, because he knew David’s pride. Kings worry about numbers…OK, let’s be honest, we all worry about numbers. David rules a census should be taken. God basically gives David the ability to pick his punishment, and David places himself in God’s hands. God then allows the nation of Israel to diminish through plague. What we just read is how David made atonement before God…at God’s invitation.
Notice that God told him where to go, who to talk to, and what to do.
In the midst of it all, David turns down a deal. Ornan (which means one who rejoiced) offers to donate the land and even pay for the sacrifice. But David says something profound”
“No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
David says three things in this one simple line.
1. Full strength sin requires full strength repentance.
2. It is not right that someone else pay for your atonement.
3. The Lord answers the cry of the sinner. It may be judgement or it may be grace, but he acknowledges every person.
We call a lot of things ours. We often want a fair price or even a deal. One thing we often don’t call ours is our sin. That we often pass off. If we can’t pass it off than we mitigate, justify, rationalize and even blame…. “It’s that woman you gave me Lord”
How did that work out for Adam?
One of the hardest skill to learn as a Christian is how to respond when confronted with your own sin..
The term used is that of repentance. Own the sin, own the cost, and change ones ways. David acknowledges his sin. He refuses to allow another to pay for the sin, he atones for the sin, but then he lives in fear of God.
How fortunate that we have been blessed with the words of Scripture that reminds us that though all have sinned and fallen away, Christ was sent to make atonement on our behalf.
John the Baptist shouts “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
John the Evangelist writes “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2 and 4:10)
Peter declares “or Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18)
My sin condemned Christ. He gave until it hurt.
The full price of my sins….it is finished.