Today’s Reading: Exodus 35-37
Today’s Reflection: Exodus 36:3-7
3) And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4) so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, 5) and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.” 6) So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, 7) for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.
When the Israel was building their first tabernacle and the call went out to the people to contribute from their own belongings the response was overwhelming. Eventually the workmen God had ordained to construct the tabernacle had to ask Moses to stop the people from bringing any more offerings. Good problem to have.
How many churches have this problem today?
Despite the fact that we live in one of the wealthiest parts of the world and most of us possess many comforts and unnecessary luxuries our churches are often starved for offerings. And not just offerings of treasure (or money), but of time and talent as well. In most churches 10 % to 20% of members are actively involved in ministry and fewer than 30% contribute consistently and sufficiently for the financial needs of the organization.
There are 3 significant differences between this Israelites then and most Christian churches today:
1) We ask “when can I stop giving?” Israel gave until they were asked to stop.
2) We are too self-sufficient. We see ourselves as the source of meeting our needs, so our first thoughts about where to spend our money tends to be on ourselves. Israel was God-sufficient. They knew everything they had came from God so returning it to Him when asked wasn’t an issue.
3) We see God’s will as part of our lives, perhaps an important part but a part nonetheless, jostling for space with our own plans and society’s ideals. For Israel God’s will was their whole life. They were freed from bondage in Egypt to serve God and worship Him at Mount Sinai (Exodus 8:1, 10:24-26). They were sent on a journey to repossess the Promised Land (Exodus 3:16-17). Their entire existence was centred around God’s purposes for their lives.
To see the same spirit of abundance exhibited in God’s church today we need to be willing to give everything we can, to rely completely on God’s provision, and to make God the centre and focus of our living.