“One of the greatest sins today…is the fact that we are robbing God of that which rightfully belongs to Him. When we don’t tithe, we shirk a just debt. Actually we are not giving when we give God one-tenth, for it belongs to Him already (Leviticus 27:30). This is a debt we owe. Not until we have given a tenth do we actually begin making an offering to the Lord!” (Billy Graham, in his sermon “Partners with God”).
David’s sin of pride, counting all the people, carried a punishment of 70 000 of the land who died. David cried out to God to rather punish him than all the people (2 Samuel 24:17). God sent the prophet Gad to David, instructed David to build an altar to God on the site of the threshing floor of Araunah, where the last people died. David decided to build an altar there on which to offer sacrifices that would move the Lord to bring judgment to an end.
When Araunah learned that David wanted to erect an altar on his property, he offered it to David as a gift, he was willing to give up everything he had for the purpose of worshipping God, he was willing to give his property, threshing floor, threshing sledges, ox yokes, oxen, “whatever pleases you” (2 Samuel 24:18–23). He had a willing heart and wanted to give sacrificially for the Lord.
David replied, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.” He insisted on purchasing the site at a proper price. David refused, however, recognising full well that gifts given to God that cost the giver nothing can never be considered sacrifices.
This is one of the best stewardship illustrations of the Bible. All too many people want to give as little as they can to God. They are willing for others to pay for the work of the Lord. A true Christian will not allow others to pay for his share of the support of the work of the Lord, but finds joy in sacrifice. Like David who believed in sacrificial giving, we are urged to give sacrificially to Kingdom work (2 Corinthians 8:1–3).