2 Samuel 24:24 – But King David said to Araunah, No but I will buy it of you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God of that which cost me nothing. So David bought the floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. (AMP)
For her seventieth birthday, my wife wanted to go to Las Vegas to see the sights and to take in the Cirque du Soleil show at the Mirage. I was recovering from a very recent right shoulder replacement, which prompted friends to twit [kid] me as to how I was going to work the one-armed bandits. My reply was that I do not gamble. "You don't gamble?! Not even a flutter on the odd hose?!" My reply to both questions remained the same. "I trust in the Lord for everything I need." And I even supplied the Scripture:
Philippians 4:19 – My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (KJV)
Yet another Christian tried to solve the problem I did not have by telling me that he gives all his winnings back to God. He was probably absent on the Sunday when his teacher made the other children learn by rote:
Proverbs 3:9 – Honour the Lord with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase. (KJV, modified)
That brought back to my mind the three years we were in South Africa where we attended the Rosettenville St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church. To raise funds for a project, each member was given an envelope containing one rand, worth in those days (1975) about one dollar and thirty-four cents. That rand was our talent to multiply for the Lord. We lived near the large Turffontien race course, and naturally, it was suggested to us by the usual punters to put it on a horse at 30 to 1. But I grew up with a mother whose father owned race horses and died penniless. Betting on horses was totally forbidden and a black sin. Even raffles were frowned upon.
I used my talent, which was the ability to fix and renovate. I installed a stainless steel kitchen sink for a neighbour, who gave me the duplicate sink for my work.
My wife advertised it for sale for me, and the widow of an erstwhile mayor of the city bought it for 35 rand from me and offered to pay me another 35 rand to install it, which I did. I gave my wife the money for washing our clothes after the job and seeing to the advertising. With jocund hearts, we handed in our envelopes. The project was a success. God did the providing.
Prayer: Loving Lord, we thank You for the talents You have given us. Teach us ever to be faithful servants and to use all the gifts You have given us for the extension of Your kingdom. Bless the labour of our minds and hands that our firstfruits might be pleasing to You. Keep us from seeking the easy path to Your throne and from offering polluted bread on Your altar. To You alone be the glory. Amen.