Exodus 35:21 – “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.” NKJV
One of my pet peeves in Christian gatherings is what I have called “Auction Offerings” where the service is placed on temporary hold until enough people respond to the offering and the targeted amount is received. I have watched people respond, not because they truly wanted to give but to move past the focus on finances. Rather than having a “spirit that was willing” they had a “spirit that was coerced or bribed” and sadly, they did not receive God’s desired blessing for their contribution.
Israel was facing the need to build the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and God gave His instructions for what could only be called an elaborate facility. When the need was presented to the people, their hearts were stirred and it does not say that everyone gave but everyone whose spirit was willing gave and gave abundantly. Those of a willing heart brought offering after offering. I am confident that as this spirit of giving began to sweep through the people some participated not because of a willing heart but out of a sense of obligation or duty and because of what others would think if they did not. I’ve had preachers tell me, “I don’t care why they give so long as they give.” I care because I understand the principle of God in giving and receiving and understand that God loves a cheerful giver and His blessing is in direct response to the heart, not the sum. This continued for some time and the workers received all they needed to complete the task set before them but the people continued to give. I wonder how many churches have experienced that problem?
Then in Chapter 36, we find an amazing declaration. In verse 5, the craftsmen came to Moses and said, “We have a problem.” It is a problem that I don’t believe I have ever encountered in church. They said, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the LORD commanded us to do.” Then in verse 6, Moses made a decree that few pastors would give even if the offering far exceeded the need. He instructed them to stop giving and later in verse 6 we read that “the people were restrained from giving…” THAT IS AMAZING!
I understand all the arguments for continuing to receive the offering and they are not invalid but if God directs for a specific project and the Spirit of God moves on the hearts of the people the need will be met. Had Moses allowed the people to continue to give and created a stash of overage to fall back on in the future would have been an insult to God. It would have indicated a lack of confidence in God to provide and a lack of trust that He would be Jehovah-Jireh to them.
You must understand that in their journey in the wilderness they were not giving out of their increase because they had no increase. They were not earning more money or amassing a greater fortune. They had what they left Egypt with and the spoils of Egypt was designed to be their nest egg for a new start in a new land. THEY GAVE THEIR DREAMS in this offering. You must see that. They were so confident that God was their source and would provide they were willing to give that to which their dreams was connected. But not only did they give of their possessions they gave and gave and gave UNTIL Moses and the elders had to say, NO MORE and restrain them. They were beginning to grasp the Seed Principle and the Law of Sowing and Reaping. But most of all they were stirred in their hearts and manifesting their TRUST, their FAITH, and their CONFIDENCE in God. They were worshipping God in an act of faith! That is Giving God’s Way. Remember when Jesus sat in the Temple near the offering and watched? People paraded by giving their large gifts and then the widow came and put in two mites, a mere pittance compared to what the others were giving. Jesus was so moved by her act of love he called His disciples aside for a teaching moment and said, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:43-44)
God looks at what is left not what is given. It is not the amount of the gift but the heart and sacrifice of the gift that stirs the heart of God. The teaching of Jesus in Luke 6:38 was the measure or proportion you use in giving determine the return from God. If you dip a spoonful out of your giant reservoir that’s how it is coming back. You didn’t notice, miss, or feel it when you gave and you won’t when it comes back. But, if you give as this widow and as the Children of Israel in the Wilderness you will assuredly notice it when it returns. It will be good measure, shaken down, running over. Giving God’s Way is out of a willing heart and a willing spirit. It is out of love and is an expression of faith in God and His Promises.
Remember this the next time you are presented with a need and as Paul said, “Do not give due to pressure from man but out of a willing heart with cheerfulness.” God Loves a Cheerful Giver! God, bless you richly is my desire and prayer!