The Old Testament King David was responsible for amassing one of the greatest fortunes the earth has ever seen.  David had a passion for building God a temple where he could be worshiped; in fact, he wrote in Psalm 69 that “Passion for your house has consumed me…”

Because of this passion to build God’s house, throughout David’s life he set about gathering the necessary resources and stewarding them to build God a house.

You can read the full account of David collecting resources for the temple in 1 Chronicles 22.  David desired to build a temple for God, but he was a warrior and had killed many men, so God didn’t permit him to build it.  Instead, David’s son Solomon was to build the temple.  David being a powerful king and warrior, he won many battles and had amassed immeasurable plunder.  But he didn’t just waste his wealth on pleasures and have nothing to show for it.  He built it up and grew the kingdom treasuries for what was on his heart to accomplish.

In preparation for Solomon to build the temple, David collected building materials and wealth for the temple to be built.  We see that “David provided large amounts of iron…and he gave more bronze than could be weighed.  He also provided innumerable cedar logs…”

Later in I Chronicles 22, David calls in his son Solomon, and charges him directly with building the temple: “May the Lord be with you and give you success as you follow his directions in building the Temple…”  And then he drops the bomb about how much money Solomon has to build the temple.

“I have worked hard to provide materials for building the Temple of the Lord – nearly 4,000 tons of gold, 40,000 tons of silverand so much iron and bronze that int cannot be weighed.”

Wait, what?!?  4,000 tons of gold and 40,000 tons of silver?  We can’t just breeze past that.  That is unimaginable wealth.  If you listen to the radio at all, you may have heard ads about gold and silver prices.  So how much money was that, exactly?  Let’s take a look:

4,000 Tons of Gold = 128,000,000 ounces
40,000 Tons of Silver = 1,280,000,000 ounces

What’s the going rate for an ounce of gold these days?  $1209.40, as of this writing, according to GoldPrice.org.  That means the gold alone was worth $154,803,200,000.  One hundred and fifty-four billion dollars, friends!

Silver’s going rate is a mere $16.86/oz as of this writing, making the 40,000 tons worth an additional $21,580,800,000 – over $21 billion.

In addition to this, in chapter 29 of the same book, David donates his personal fortune of 112 tons of gold and 262 tons of silver, a mere $4.5 billion.  The other $175 billion was state money.

With that additional personal gift, David bestowed to Solomon over $180 billion of gold and silver to build the Temple, not including the value of the immeasurable bronze, iron, and cedar that he had collected – one of the largest fortunes ever recorded!

Lastly, we see that David’s incredible generosity inspired the rest of the people to follow suit and give offerings to help build the Temple.  When David gave his personal fortune, the people followed suit and gave 188 tons of gold, 10,000 gold coins, 375 tons of silver, 675 tons of bronze, and 3750 tons of iron, “given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord.”

From David’s story we see an incredible example of stewardship as well as the power of how stewardship and generosity can inspire others to the same!  If we had amassed $180 billion in our lifetimes, would we be able to give it freely and joyfully to the Lord when the time came?  May we grow such stewardship in our own lives that we’d be able to truthfully answer YES!

References:
1 Chronicles 22 (NLT)
1 Chronicles 29 (NLT)