“… And the people were restrained from bringing [any more], for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.”
— Exodus 36:6–7
Some people complain when pastors bring up the issue of money. They seem to forget that churches need money to expand. On the other hand, have you ever heard any pastor say, “Look, folks, we appreciate your generosity, but we already have too much?” I doubt it, but that actually happened one time with Moses and the Israelites.
The Israelites had come together to build the first sanctuary for the true and living God. The Bible tells us that Moses called all the children of Israel together, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded.” He wanted all of the congregation to participate in the offering for and the building of the tabernacle. Moses commanded them, “Take from among you an offering to the Lord.” Who should participate? “Whoever is of a willing heart.” God didn’t compel or pressure anyone to give. Instead, God in effect said, “If your heart leads you to do this, then do it.”
God had provided for all the Israelites’ needs and given His Ten Commandments; now the Israelites rejoiced in bringing their gifts. We read, “Everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work.” They brought gold and silver and brass. These people had no home of their own and no certain future, but they trusted in the Lord, giving willingly and joyfully. In fact, so many came forward with gifts that Moses had to command them to stop.
I wish that could be the case more often in churches today. I believe that God blesses those who give to His work; we miss that blessing when we withhold. We should give willingly and joyfully … as Chuck Swindoll likes to remind us, “God loves a hilarious giver.”