I hope that looking to some of the giving recorded in the Bible will inspire us to be more aggressive givers. Like our Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Today we will look at the generosity of the people of Israel when God instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle. These people were slaves in Egypt, but when Pharaoh was ready to let them go, after the plagues and the deaths of all the firstborns, “the Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians” (Exodus 12:35,36).
The LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give” (see Exodus 25:1-7).
Let’s make a list of what was needed:
- blue, purple and scarlet yarn
- fine linen
- goat hair
- ram skins dyed red
- hides of sea cows
- acacia wood
- olive oil for the light
- spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense
- onyx stones and other gems
They didn’t do it grudgingly but with a willing heart, men and women alike.
- They brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments.
- Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or hides of sea cows brought them.
- Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the LORD
- Everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it.
- Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun — blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen.
- All the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair.
- The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
- They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense.
“All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do.”
God chose Bezalel, of the tribe of Judah, and filled him with the Spirit of God…
- with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts
- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze
- to cut and set stones
- to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship
Here is an interesting detail: God gave both Bezalel and Oholiab, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. That’s very important because many people have skills but they don’t know how to teach. These men were to teach others, so the work could be delegatred.
God filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as
- Embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen
All of them master craftsmen and designers.
Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary.
Here is another interesting detail. The people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. The offerings were piling up, so all the skilled craftsmen doing the work on the sanctuary sent to Moses and said, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.”
Listen to this order Moses gave and sent word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.”
So people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work. (See Ex 35:20–36:7.)
Can you imagine your pastor one Sunday morning announcing that no one should bring any more offerings because there is more than enough?! I’ll tell you the truth: if everyone would be faithful in bringing the tithes and offerings to the House of God there would be more than enough to do the work. There would never be any fundraisers! Not necessary.
We need to learn to give extravagant!
If you’re not an extravagant giver, start now. The Lord has given us a very simple formula: 10%. Even a little child can understand that. If you have ten dimes, one is for the Lord. If you have ten dollars, one is for the Lord.
May it be said of us even today: “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.”