“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.” Exodus 35:21
Nearly an entire chapter of the book of Exodus was dedicated to the collection of the offerings for the construction of the wilderness Tabernacle and the primary requirement for this collection was that everything that was given needed to be given with a willing heart. In fact, in the approximately thirty-five verses in which the collecting was recorded this willingness of heart was referred to seven times.
And it wasn’t just the donations of valuables that was being referred to. Even the dedication of time and ability needed for the construction and manufacture of the various articles needed for the tabernacle was to be given willingly
And the people came and gave. For days the collection continued until one day the artisans had to go to Moses and tell him that the people needed to stop bringing gifts for the temple because more than enough had been given. There must have been hundreds of pounds of gold, and silver, and bronze, and mountains of thread, both of linen and of wool.
Israel may have had its problems when it came to the constancy of its dedication to following the Lord but when it came to its willingness to be generous to towards God theirs was an open heart.
How willing are we?
At times I’ve seen great generosity and still at other times I seen indifference and neglect. It seems that when it comes to big projects and major appeals that there’s a willingness to break into the pocketbooks and checking accounts and give but when it comes to the slow grind of disciplined giving required to support the week to week, month to month, needs of the church and its ministries that there’s not enough time or money to see things through.
Friends, giving to support a building project or major campaign is commendable. Donating your time to a mission trip or and evangelistic series is a good thing. But if these things are not preceded and succeeded by still more generous giving to support the continual ministries of the church, the buildings upkeep, and the efforts required to continue to spread the influence of the church into new neighborhoods, then it’s all just a flash in the pan.
We need the same willingness when it comes to supporting the electrical and gas bill as we do the donations for mission trips. We need the same generosity for tuition subsidy, community service, and personal ministry and evangelism as we have for building projects.
Sure it’s not as interesting to talk about supporting the water bill at home as it is project to drill wells in Africa but the need to willingly support is vital for both. So listen when the needs of your local congregation are reported and appeals are made and plan to remember and willingly give.