A harp and a slingshot where the “riches” of a young shepherd boy who lived around 1,000 years before Christ. His name was David. God chose him to be the King of Israel. He blessed him abundantly, so that one time he could give an offering worth more than the entire fortune of any of today’s richest people.
Nearing the end of his life David wanted to build a house of worship for God, and he made plans for it. But God told him, “You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood. Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts.”
Even if David was not allowed to build the Temple, the Spirit of God gave him the plans and every detailed instruction.
David summoned all the officials of Israel to assemble at Jerusalem:
- the officers over the tribes
- the commanders of the divisions in the service of the king
- the commanders of thousands
- the commanders of hundreds
- the officials in charge of the king’s property and livestock
- the palace officials
- the mighty men
- all the brave warriors
That was quite a crowd! He told them of the plans for the Temple and that God had chosen Solomon to do the job. But even if he didn’t get to be the builder, with all his resources David had provided for the Temple of God:
- gold for the gold work
- silver for the silver work
- bronze for the bronze work
- iron for the iron work
- wood for the wood work
- onyx for the settings
- stones of various colors
- all kinds of fine stone and marble
All of these in large quantities!
Besides all of this, David gave his personal treasures of gold and silver, over and above everything he had provided for the holy temple:
- 3,000 talents of gold (about 110 tons)
- 7,000 thousand talents of refined silver (about 260 tons)
I have a gold ring, my wedding band, that’s all the gold I have. And it cost my late husband a lot of money. In his book Extravagant, Bryan Jarrett gives an explanation in modern terms about the value of this donation by King David.
“A talent of metal weighed about 70 pounds. That means David gave roughly 3750 tons of gold or about 7.5 million pounds. Multiply that by 16 to get the number of ounces, and based on today’s price per ounce, David’s gold donation alone was worth about $180 billion. Add to that his 37,500 tons of silver worth today about $42 billion.”
That from the man who started out with a harp and a slingshot! This offering was three or four times larger than the entire fortune of any of the richest men on earth today!
But David was not satisfied with what he had given. He asked all those leaders that he had assembled if they were willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord. Then they gave towards the building of the Temple:
- 5,000 thousand talents of gold (190 tons)
- 10,000 thousand darics of gold (185 pounds)
- 10,000 talents of silver (375 tons)
- 18,000 talents of bronze (675 tons)
- 100,000 talents of iron (3,750 tons)
And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple. All of this put in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. What a responsibility!
“The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.”
David recognized that it was none of his doing that he could give such a generous offering.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand… O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.”
(Read the complete story in 1 Chronicles 28 & 29.)
What a glorious way to end your life, giving it all back to the Lord. We come with nothing and we take nothing with us when we leave. What good will all the billions do Bill Gates when he has to stand before his Maker and give account for his life? What good will the meager dollars I have earned to do me? No good!
But we can store treasures in Heaven for the coming life! This is what Jesus said,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
We look at the billions worth of the donation David gave for the construction of the Temple and admire him for such an act. Jesus looked at a poor widow who gave two copper coins in the offering, worth only a fraction of a penny, and calling his disciples, said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43-44).
Putting David’s billion-dollar offering side by side with the “penny” of the widow, hers was the biggest, because she gave all she had to live on. David still had his palace!
It’s not the size of the offering but the condition of the heart that counts. David was doubly blessed; he had both. He had a generous heart and lots of gold and silver to give. But he recognized that he was just giving back what God had blessed him with.
At the end of the day, the only thing that counts is what we have stored up in Heaven. We brought nothing with us, we take nothing with us.
Serve God with all your heart. Be generous in giving to the work of the Kingdom. Take good care of God’s “little ones” (see Matthew 10:42). That’s probably the way to send on treasures ahead of us.
The man with the harp and the slingshot gave us a good example!
For a PDF copy click here: A Harp and a Slingshot