Isn’t it amazing when God shows you something new in a scripture you’ve read so many times that you thought you had the message down pat? It happened to me again this morning as I read about the contributions for, and construction of, the Tabernacle. Moses had come down from Mount Sinai with his face shining from being in God’s presence and he assembled the congregation of Israel to lay out the things the LORD had commanded them to do. Long lists of materials and instruction followed—not too inspiring unless one is digging into the significance of each item, or has a heart for design details. But suddenly phrases started popping out at me…
And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him…All who were of a willing heart brought [gifts]…All the women whose hearts stirred them to use their skill…All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded…everyone whose heart stirred him up to come and do the work.” (Exodus 35:21, 22, 26, 29; 36:2)
These people didn’t give or serve because they were forced to do so—they didn’t act out of legalistic guilt or obligation—they came freely and willingly as their hearts were touched by God, and they were so generous that Moses had to tell them to stop bringing gifts because more than enough had been accumulated to build the tabernacle.
What an example for us! We need to give and serve out of a willing and joyful heart as God leads us; not because someone has told us it is required. Oh how the LORD loves a cheerful giver!!!
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)