On being generous…

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Scripture: Exodus 36:Moses then called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful one to whom the Lord had given skill, everyone whose heart was stirred to come to do the work; and they received from Moses all the freewill offerings that the Israelites had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the artisans who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task being performed, and said to Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing; for what they had already brought was more than enough to do all the work.

Observation: Moses organized the people and resources to construct the tabernacle of the Lord. The tabernacle was a portable temple where God would meet with the people on the journey to the Promised Land. They would later build a permanent temple in Jerusalem. What’s striking to me in this passage is the generosity of God’s people. They gave so much Moses had to tell the to stop! Why were they so generous? Well, one could surmise God had put it on their hearts to give, just as he’d put it on the craftsmen’s hearts to build. The people were also well aware the riches they had were a gift from God. Remember their wealth was given to them by the Egyptians when the Israelites left Egypt. The bible says they “plundered” Egypt, though they did no violence to the Egyptians. God did that himself via ten plagues.

Application: Most people I know want to be generous, but are afraid to do so. Why? People often fear if they give generously they won’t have enough left over for themselves. That’s one possibility. Another is a perceived need to acquire “more”, so giving generously runs counter to that objective. Both of these have impacted me over the years, for sure. I’m not exempt here. But what the people understood in Moses’ day is that God, who’d given them the wealth in the first place, would restore whatever was given. They never had to fear scarcity because God had provided for them every day since leaving Egypt. Same is true of you and me. Question: Where is the Lord giving you opportunity to be generous today?

Prayer: Lord, you gave to your people generous hearts and they gave. More than was needed. They had no fear of scarcity because they trusted in you. Give us grace to do likewise. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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