Giving from a Generous Heart
Read: Exodus 25.1-7; 35.4-29; Leviticus 27.30-33; Second Corinthians 9.6-8
So the people of Israel-- every man and woman who wanted to help in the work the LORD had given them through Moses-- brought their offerings to the LORD.
Exodus 35.29 (New Living Translation)
This lesson provides us with a variety of passages that teach about giving—who should give, how, what and why.
In Exodus chapters 25-31, Moses described the design for the tent of meeting and all its furniture, including the Ark of the Covenant. He gave the details for making priestly vestments and the oils that would accompany the sacrifices. Then in Chapter 35, Moses gave the command to all the people: Bring the offering to the LORD. The people looked to the spoils they brought out of Egypt (Exodus 12.35-36) and gave to Moses gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine linen; goats' hair, tanned rams' skins, and fine leather; acacia wood, oil, spices, onyx stones and gems (Exodus 35.5-9). In addition to these material offerings, the people also offered their skills—carpentry, metal work, tent making, spinners of yarn and workers with linens (vv. 23-28). Everything was offered with a willing spirit and a generous heart (vv. 5, 29). What a remarkable contrast this obedient assembly was to the wild assembly that gave their gold to Aaron to build the golden calf (32.8). Their generous gifts were a response to God’s mercy and the privilege of doing God’s will (i.e., building the place where God would dwell—the tabernacle). In Second Corinthians, Paul was collecting an offering from the wealthy Gentile churches for the afflicted church in Jerusalem. This offering was to be a willing, generous gift of support that would bind the two communities. Paul promised that God would respond to their cheerful gift with abundant blessings, not for them to hoard, but so they could continue to generously share in other good works (Second Corinthians 9.7-8).
Everyone who has experienced God’s love, grace and mercy should give their best to the LORD, freely, generously and joyfully.
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence