By Joe Chesser
When it came time for the Israelites to construct the tabernacle, God told Moses to tell the Israelites to make an offering to God (Exodus 25.2). Keep in mind that the Israelites had just been freed from slavery in Egypt and were in the wilderness on their way to the promised land. No one was working to earn money. No jobs. No farmers. No businesses. All they had was what they could carry out of Egypt when they hurriedly escaped in the middle of the night. Yet, when Moses issued the call for an offering, gifts and supplies poured in. Their actions teach us two essentials about the kind of giving God wants from us.
The first is a willing heart. Giving supplies for the construction of the tabernacle was not mandatory. As Moses was told by God, “You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give” (Ex. 25.2). And so “everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord.” All “the men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do” (Ex. 35.21, 29). Yes, giving was commanded by God, but the Bible states that the offerings were given by those who were willing, by those whose hearts moved them to give. That principle remains to this day. God wants our giving to be from a heart willingly moved to give, not one compelled to give. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9.7). When our hearts are first given to the Lord our gifts will be freely given (2 Cor. 8.3-5). The first essential for giving is a willing heart.
The other essential for giving is the supply God makes available to us. The night the Israelites were freed, the Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed to give them whatever they asked for … articles of gold and silver, and clothing. The Israelites plundered Egypt by God’s hand (Ex. 12.35-36). So, when it was time to build the tabernacle, the Israelites had the things needed: gold, silver, bronze, colored yarn, fine linen, ram skins, spices, precious stones, etc. (Ex. 25.3-7). Out of a willing heart they gave to God from what God had first given to them. That principle remains to this day. We are to give from the prosperity God gives us (1 Cor. 16.2). Just as God enabled Israel with the plunder from Egypt, God enables us with whatever we need to do his work (2 Cor. 9.8). “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Cor. 9.11). The 2nd essential for giving is the supply from God.
God will always do His part, so the rest is up to our willingness to give.
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org