Thankful Giving

Exodus 35—36

After the Israelites fled Egypt, Moses went to the mountain top to meet with God. While Moses was on the mountain, God gave him instruction for building the tabernacle, a tent that would serve as a temple while the Israelites were traveling to the Promised Land. The instructions were detailed and specific.

When Moses arrived back down the mountain, he addressed all the Israelites, telling them they needed to give for the building of the tabernacle. He asked for gold, silver, bronze, cloth, leather, wood, oil, spices and jewels. Moses said, "..whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord..." (Exodus 35:5)

The people brought what they had, gold ear rings, jewelry, cloth, leather, wood, oil, spices and jewels. They brought it all in thanksgiving to God for delivering them from slavery. Soon, the collection pile began to grow, and the craftsmen told Moses, "The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make." (Exodus 36:5)

This is every pastor's dream, having the people bring more offerings than is needed. Most churches struggle to meet their budget, but wouldn't it be thrilling for a pastor to have to do as Moses did and have to tell the people to stop giving? (Exodus 36:6)

The people gave more than just their possessions. Those skilled in metal work melted down the jewelry and made bowels, candlesticks and other furnishings for the tabernacle. Those skilled in woodworking built the framework for the tent. Those skilled in weaving wove cloth. The Israelites gave their time as well as their possessions.

Reading this account made me wonder, how much of my time, talents and money do I give to the Lord? It was a frightening thought, because the truth was: not nearly enough. I was convicted by the revelation that God has giving me everything, not only monetarily but also health, skills and talents. I should be giving those things back to Him.

What a thrill for our pastor to stand up one Sunday morning and say, “We have met our budget for the year. There is no need for any more offerings.” If people would give as the Israelites gave, from the heart with thankfulness for what God has done, such a thing could possibly happen.

When we consider giving to the work of the church, we should weigh it against what we have received: What price do you put on eternal life?

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