Exodus 36:1–7 (NIV)
“So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”
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. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses. “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.”
Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.”
Have you ever been completely blown away by someone’s generosity? A few years ago, a friend and I were organizing our first silent auction to support a Christian organization which helps farmers in Uganda become more self-sustaining. Since we had little experience asking for donations, we found ourselves praying often and asking God to guide us each step of the way. One by one the donations started coming in. We received beautiful furniture, concert tickets, gift certificates to restaurants and a wide variety of home décor. But one donation took us by surprise. A man wanted to donate a small package of jalapeño venison sausage. How would this unique sausage donation be received? We decided to go with it and let our guests decide. At the end of the evening it was revealed that the sausage sold for $250! This donation was way more than what we had hoped or imagined! Was the sausage worth $250? No! But God moved the hearts of our guests to respond to the need and they gave generously. A contagious spirit of generosity had permeated the event and overall we raised much more than we had anticipated!
The construction of God’s tabernacle in Exodus 36:1-7 provides another example of abundant generosity. God had given Moses clear instructions of how the tabernacle was to be constructed and all the materials required. Moses then conveyed these needs to the Israelite community and invited them to respond. After listening, their “hearts were stirred” and they willingly offered beautiful gifts ranging from gold and silver to acacia wood to yarn made of goat’s hair. Verse 3 states the people continued to bring their offerings every morning. Perhaps the eagerness of some to give persuaded many to give. So many gifts were given that the craftsmen, Bezalel and Oholiab went to Moses saying, “We have more than enough materials on hand now to complete the job the Lord has given us to do!” So Moses told the Israelites, “Bring no more materials! You have already given more than enough.”
As we go forward with this Phase III capital campaign, may God clearly guide the process and may His Holy Spirit stir our hearts to not only give, but to give generously. May our giving encourage others to give. For where God guides, God provides; and often it way exceeds our expectations.
God, I pray to have a heart willing to hear your call, willing to see all you have given me, and willing to do wholeheartedly whatever you set before me. Fill me with your Spirit, lead me by your Spirit, teach me to follow faithfully. Thank you for all you have given. Help me remember that all I have belongs to you. Help me to listen and respond faithfully to you. As I ponder what I have been wholehearted about in my life, I recall the golden calves – things that have captured my heart and taken my gaze off of you. I am sorry. Forgive me. Turn my heart back to you. Capture my heart again. May I not be captured by things that are perishing, but moved more towards you and the priorities you call me to have. I pray to follow you faithfully and wholeheartedly day by day. In Jesus name, Amen.