BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!” So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.” (Exodus 36:6,7 NLT)
I recall a comment by a preacher about giving that wasn’t necessarily motivating but carried a degree of truth. He announced, “The Lord has already provided for our need, the problem is the money is still in your pocket!
The Lord gave the Children of Israel the instructions about building the tabernacle and all the furnishings required to complete their sacrifices and worship. But it was the people who provided all the items that were necessary for the project to be completed.
This was not accomplished through a “tax” or an obligation from each of the individuals or families, but rather it was dependent upon those “whose hearts moved them.” We read, So the people of Israel—every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the Lord had given them through Moses—brought their gifts and gave them freely to the Lord. (Exodus 35:29 NLT)
A compelling vision or cause motivates the willingness of people to give and even sacrifice for a project that is bigger than themselves. That is the challenge for every pastor and organizational leader who is “raising funds” for a major project.
I recall a pastor friend who was embarking on a building project for a new church building. He told me that they had several “goals” in mind. They knew what they absolutely needed to at least launch the project. Then they had what they believed as a realistic goal. And then they had a goal in mind that was their “over and beyond” goal – a “miracle” response. When the commitments were calculated they had received a million dollars above the “miracle” goal!
This type of response reminds me of how God’s people responded by giving the articles needed for the original Tabernacle in the wilderness.
Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work. They went to Moses and reported, “The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do!” So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!” So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project. (Exodus 36:5-7 NLT)
Most translations say, “the people were restrained from giving.” I don’t know of anyone who told someone, “no!” you can’t give any more! But this shows how God is able to work through people as they respond to God’s work.
Years later when the first Temple was being prepared to be built we see a similar response, “The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord, and King David was filled with joy.” (1 Chronicles 29:9 NLT)
What we see in the Old Testament is reflected in the words of Paul in the New Testament, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV)
It is interesting that the one response we see in generous giving is “joy” not relief that the need is met. Joy for the giver, joy for the leader. I am grateful that Debbie and I have been blessed over the years with the generosity of others and have been able to give generously as well. I am sure that many others have experienced the joy of generous giving.