The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me.”
It can get lost in the excruciating details of God’s design for the tabernacle, but the project of building a portable sanctuary for the worship of Yahweh happened because people chose to give the materials for the tabernacle. The remarkable phrase is “from every man whose heart moves him”. This was voluntary generosity. The Lord wanted people to want to give.
Why? Isn’t it true that Moses could have come down from the mountain with a fully built ark of the covenant, as well as all the furnishings for the worship of God? God had a design in mind, so it is evident that God knew what was needed. But God wanted to worship from His people. And that can only be given voluntarily. And it was His desire to receive personal, willing worship. Material provisions were part of that worship.
This is still God’s desire. He wants people to willingly worship Him through praise, prayer, heeding His word, and giving to His kingdom’s advance. This giving comes in various forms, but it is most noticeable in terms of personal financial commitment and sacrifice, as will be seen when Israel generously provides so much for the tabernacle that Moses eventually has to command them to stop!
So when the plate makes its rounds on Sunday, or when a personal sacrifice is made to travel on a missions trip, or needs are presented for a ministry opportunity, it is all worship. It is sincere, real, visible worship and its most personal and meaningful, and we should not be shy of it just because some hucksters of the gospel have abused it in the past. They will suffer for their fraud. But God is real, and giving is real worship.