“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 craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work 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.” (Exodus36:3–7)
The skills within the community of Israelites was filled with craftsmen who were willing and committed to build the sanctuary. Skills and abilities are all considered gifts from God. What is amazing about this scripture, is that the builders went to Moses and said to him, “No more, we have more than enough to do the job!”
Furthermore, the people had responded joyfully to the need and they far exceeded the necessary needs of the builders. Wouldn’t we all want to see this same enthusiasm in our own church projects through freewill offerings? This is a pure example that giving freely pleases God, because it is a voluntary and cheerful expression of the body of Christ making offerings to further the work of God through the witness and love of the church. Properly motivated giving provides sufficient funds for God’s purposes.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, recharge us to feel the same way the Israelites felt when the call to give was announced, they did so cheerfully and to excess! Their witness of giving to the point of being stopped to give and a strong one for us all. What has happened to our joy, the joy that lifts us up and carries us through each day, regardless of what takes place? Where is our commitment to the ministry of our church? The church is not the structure, it is simply a place we gather to worship God, the church is us, you and me, and we are to live as joyful and cheerful in our own lives. Abba, we need this feeling to once again guide us in our lives and the lives of our families. This we pray, in Jesus’ name pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Ever been between a rock and a hard place? Then thank the Lord, because it’s good to be next to the Rock when you are in a hard place!”
“Then (Moses) sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed your bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.’ Moses and Aaron, Nadan and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders, of he Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. (Exodus 24:5, 8-11)
The Lord’s words must be hear and obeyed. At Sinai on this particular day, the people of Israel heard the commands of he Lord and agreed to keep the covenant. A ceremony sealed the people’s commitment to God. In times of worship, people make important commitments which continue through life. By offering sacrifices and by sprinkling blood on the altar, they revealed a serious dedication of themselves to the Lord. “The Book of the Covenant” contained the commands of stipulations of the Lord to be followed by the people of the covenant. The covenant still exists beloved, and we agree to it in baptism, and we reaffirm it in our confirmation service and we reaffirm it every time someone else is baptized or confirmed in the church. It really is that important and I pray you have not forgotten your individual commitment.
“When they arrived at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments. The priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers and he temple servants settle in their own towns, along with some of the other people, and the rest of the Israelites settled in their towns.” (Ezra 2:68-69)
Beloved, giving to God’s work at this time was understood and accepted by all. If you couldn’t give it all, you gave all you could. What has happened to the “confusion” about our tithing to the churches work? People planned their giving, but this seems to no longer be the case. I once had a police officer ask me to pray about their getting a detective’s job, thus getting off of the street patrols. I agreed and held my hands out to them to hold. They said, now? I said, ‘Can you think of a better time?’ So we prayed if it be within God’s will for them, that they would get selected for the job. A few weeks later that same person came up to me saying, ‘I got the job!’ I immediately held my hands out again, and said, “Now, let say a prayer of thanksgiving for His grace to see I had the job!’ Beloved, we too have to be intentional about our tithing to the churches work. We must give and do so cheerfully, not begrudgingly. Once we begin to plan, God will bless us with the monies necessary to take care of all other things.
Second Thought of the Day:
“Some of the heads of the family contributed to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 drachmas of gold, 50 bowls and 530 garments for priests. Some of the heads of the families gave to the treasury for the work, 20,000 drachmas and 2,200 minas of silver and 67 garments for priests.” (Nehemiah7:70–72)
As previously noted, stewardship what all of this is now called today. We are instructed in the Bible to give our tithes or to be good stewards of our gifts. It would be nice if everyone could give money, but there are times when I believe that our efforts to take care of the needs of the church by “sweat equity” have an equal amount of value.
So, it’s not enough for us just to write a check or give cash or even allow the church to deduct an amount out of your credit cards. We must get out and work, maybe putting in a community garden, whereby people can help grow their own vegetables and then give 10% to the local stores who help low income people buy food and reduced rates or buy clothing for families or even help with minimal furniture needs. There are a myriad of things that “we” can do, beloved, and should be doing. Maybe your church has a desire and/or need for English as a second language; helping immigrants coming into the country legally that need help with jobs, housing, etc., but I could go on. If we all do our part, there is no telling what we could accomplish, but we must try.