Reading: Exodus 25:1-9
God wants Israel to construct “a sanctuary that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8).
He first asks the Israelites to contribute material gifts for the building of the tabernacle and its furniture. Each person is to give according to their ability; in other words although the poor give less than the rich, both are acceptable to God. Everything we have is God’s, but it is polluted unless we devote it to His glory. In His grace God permits us the free use of material things, provided we confess that it remains under His power, and that we are ready to use it as He asks, rather than for our own selfishness. In this way we show true thankfulness and piety.
This passage is like a mirror for the church today. It gives us an image of what God now requires for the building of His spiritual temple, that is, the church. Properly speaking, God builds His Church; but He uses our labour. The Israelites gave only what they received from God in the first place. Today God distributes in the church material gifts, and the spiritual gifts of His Spirit, with each person receiving a certain amount. He asks us to use every gift for the building and care of the congregation.
God does not demand the Israelites to give, but says He will receive “from everyone who gives it willingly with his heart” (Exodus 25:2). This principle continues for the church in the New Testament. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
Key text: Exodus 25:2 “From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”
Question: Which gifts has God given you? Do you use them cheerfully for the brothers and sisters?