Sermon 010 That Which Costs Me Nothing

2 Samuel 24


  • King [[David]], 3000 years ago in Israel
  • The Census - Showed Lack of trust
  • God's plague
  • Killed 70 of the 1,300 military units David counted
  • David asks for forgiveness
  • God commands for an altar to be built

The Scripture

19 So David went up, as the Lord had commanded through Gad. 20 When Araunah looked and saw the king and his officials coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.

21 Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?"

"To buy your threshing floor," David answered, "so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped."

22 Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take whatever he wishes and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. 23 Your Majesty, Araunah gives all this to the king." Araunah also said to him, "May the Lord your God accept you."

24 But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. 25 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.


The original cause of the plague is from a desire to know how much stuff David and his kingdom has.

This is materialism.

David is offered the opportunity to take the easy way out. And he doesn't.

What we do is important; but how we do what we do is just as important, and sometimes more.

The key phrase in this passage is verse 24: "I will not sacrifice that which costs me nothing."

David has rejected consumerism.

Consumerism is one of the largest threats to the Gospel in the American church.

Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts.

We all know what consumerism because we are all victims and participants in it. Every purchase, every shopping spree, and most of our decisions have in mind what's best for us, what suits our needs, what's most convenient.

But consumerism is just about in every way opposite of the Gospel, opposite of what Jesus has called us to.

The words of Jesus

Matthew 13:44-46
**44 **"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

**45 **"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. **46 **When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Matthew 16:24-26

Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. **25 **For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. **26 **What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

We have lots of people who want to be part of the church, this church or any church. And we have lots of people who want to be able to apply to themselves the word "Christian." But when it comes right down to it, how many of us actually actively desire and pursue to be disciples of Jesus. Because if we did, then it would be giving up our LIVES for His sake.

The Words of Paul

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship. **2 **Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Philippians 2:3-8

**3 **Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

**5 **In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

**...he made himself nothing by taking the very nature **of a servant, being made in human likeness.

**8 **And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

"Attracting people to church based on their consumer demands is in direct and irredeemable conflict with inviting people, in Jesus' words, to lose their lives in order to find them." (Renovation of the Church)

In other words, most of the churches that we know of, including this one, offer options. Times of services, lengths of services, styles of worship, types of Sunday school curriculum, length of Sunday school. And most of the people that go to those churches base their decision on whether or not to be a part of that church on whether or not those options please them or not.

So even though Jesus says to take up our cross, even though Paul says to do nothing out of ambition or conceit, the church has produced a system that - by its very nature - defeats all of this. It actually causes us to become more selfish, more self-centered, more consumeristic. Pastors can become as helpful as bartenders at an Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

We have to face up with the fact that most of our problems in life and character--and in the church--are primarily because we all live attempting to get what we want.

There Is A Better Way

Isaiah 55
"Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare."

Matthew 11:28-30

**28 **"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. **29 **Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. **30 **For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

So What Do We Do?

We must let go of judging the value of a good, service, or idea based off of

  • Convienence
  • Attractiveness
  • Personal Preference
  • Appearance of Outward Success

Instead we must value things based off of

  • Helpfulness
  • Reflection of God's image
  • The interest of others
  • Faithfulness to God's will

I'm not saying you're not allowed to have opinions or preferences. But perhaps we should give up the idea that our particular tastes and preferences are the ones that should be catered to. After all, Jesus taught us to live well and be content even when we don't get what we want. (RotC)

Are we disciples of Jesus, or merely avid consumers of religious goods and services?

Anthony Parrott

Anthony Parrott

Washington, DC