32 ‘We assume the responsibility for carrying out the commands to give a third of a shekel each year for the service of the house of our God: 33 for the bread set out on the table; for the regular grain offerings and burnt offerings; for the offerings on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals; for the holy offerings; for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel; and for all the duties of the house of our God.34 ‘We – the priests, the Levites and the people – have cast lots to determine when each of our families is to bring to the house of our God at set times each year a contribution of wood to burn on the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the Law.35 ‘We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the Lordeach year the firstfruits of our crops and of every fruit tree.” NIV

It concerns me that we increasingly seem to find ourselves in an age in which every other person is a victim. Don’t get me wrong. I know what it is to be wounded, and some hurts go very deep. I think we will all say the same. But if we’re not very careful, we can start to assume the role of the victim, in which we make excuses, and play the blame game, instead of taking responsibility for our own actions. Part of this may also mean facing up to the fact that we ourselves have hurt others. Maybe not intentionally, but the reality is that we probably have.

I am struck by these words in today’s passage: ‘’We assume the responsibility…We also assume responsibility…’’ (32,35). Here were people facing up to the fact that they’d gone wrong, and taking responsibility to put things right. They weren’t blaming heredity or environment or anything else for their sins. Here, they were taking responsibility to rectify their giving according to what they had seen in God’s Word. They weren’t making excuses for their previous behaviour, but they were determined to set things right. Matthew Henry makes the point that the people were not forced to do this by taxation, but they took themselves in hand. They ‘made it an ordinance for themselves,and charged themselves with it.’

Perhaps the first step we need to take towards financial responsibility is to commit to giving according to Biblical principles. As Jesus said:

‘’But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well’’ (Matthew 6:33).

‘If everyone will act, and everyone will give, though but little, towards a good work, the whole amount will be considerable.’ Matthew Henry