After meeting with the Lord and receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses assembled all the congregation of Israel and relayed to them all that the Lord had commanded them to do. This included the request to take a contribution for both the materials and the skilled labor required to build the tabernacle.
“Take from among you a contribution to the LORD. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD’s contribution: …”
“Let every skillful craftsman among you come and make all that the LORD has commanded: …”
A few things that stood out to me as I read through this account in Exodus 35.
- Proclaim not persuade – sometimes we can be a little too concerned with addressing the entire congregation with a particular message because we know that what we say may only apply to a select few. I like how Moses didn’t seem to worry about that but rather was simply obedient to proclaim God’s message. He broadcasted to all the people and allowed the Spirit to do the work of persuading and encouraging the people to respond.
- No condemnation – although Moses broadcasted the message to the entire congregation, and in particular to those with a “generous heart”, there was no guilt trip. Those who didn’t feel moved to act were not put on blast and made to feel any less than those who gave. Again, the command and need was made known and it was then the Spirit’s job to work in the hearts of the people.
- It’s a matter of the heart – and speaking of the Spirit working in the hearts of the people, it really is never about the gift as much as it’s about the heart that motivates the giving.
Then all the congregation of the people of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the LORD’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart …
My prayer is that I would have a willing and generous heart. I pray that my heart is willing and generous because it has a full understanding and appreciation for the fact that it was first loved by God even while it was still sinful. I pray that the Spirit will move me toward generosity and that anything I give will be because I first received it from the Lord. I pray that I will worship the Lord with a full heart.