Thursday, August 27, 2009

Outgiving the need: some questions for me.

pile of money So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, "Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary." So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.

Exodus 36:6-7

This is a rare occurrence (unfortunately), but a definite high-water mark in the health of Israel’s spiritual journey. As the craftsmen and materials came together for the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, a problem came early one. The builders had received too much to work with! They were oversupplied by the people. Imagine that! God’s people had given a surplus. All that stuff was just starting to get in the way of moving forward with construction. Moses had to issue an order to STOP giving.

The eagerness with which Israel approached this project must be put into perspective. This was the very first such project in the nation’s very brief history. They were ready nationally to do it as a result. Secondly, they had just been spiritually through a LOW point. They had been judged for idolatry and purged of the most flagrant of idolaters. After the execution of 3000 idolaters followed by a disease in the camp, those left were left with a fresh fear of the Lord. They were ready spiritually. This is also the generation that had known slavery and had nothing until the Exodus. Then God made the Egyptians so ready to let them out of the country that the Egyptians showered them with wealth on their way out. It was Egyptian gold and precious materials that build the tabernacle. The country was ready to sacrifice materially, and they had opportunity because of God’s provision through Egypt.

Am I ready to give in this way? The questions are clear for me: 1) In what ways has my culture prepared me to give to God’s work? 2) In what ways has God spiritually prepared me? Finally, 3) what do I have that is clearly not my own that can be given in service to the Lord?

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