I just returned home from the Christian Stewardship Association Conference. While I was there listening to many people speak about stewardship and generosity, I got to thinking about what would it take to motivate me to give like the Israelites in Exodus 35 and 36?
Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work. They went to Moses and reported, “The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do!” So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!”
I think by this time the children of Israel had finally reached the point where they knew that Moses was speaking what God commanded him to say. They could trust their leader. And so when Moses told them what God wanted them to give, they were ready to hear.
Secondly, God asked this only of certain people. In Exodus 35:5 it says “…Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord.” And after Moses went through the list verse 20 says “So the whole community of Israel left Moses and returned to their tents.” But most interesting is verse 21, “All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved came and brought their sacred offerings to the Lord. They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle, for the performance of its rituals, and for the sacred garments.”
So what does it take? I think it takes a proven leader and a compelling need. But most of all it takes a willing heart – a generous heart. It comes back to being sold out to God, ready to be used, and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God will provide the resources for what and where he wants to work in this world.