Have you seen those commercials that talk about the “heart check” symbol that appears on food items that have been deemed heart healthy? We have heard more and more information in the past number of years regarding heart health and how to prevent heart attacks and strokes. All good stuff that we should pay attention to.
It has me wondering: When was the last time you did a spiritual heart check?
As I was reading this section of Exodus, something stood out to me that is worth pondering. So God gives Moses the instructions for building the Tabernacle. Moses goes to the people and asks for donations of labour and materials to help with the building. Notice as you read how many times the heart is mentioned in that process. Just a note here, the Holman Christian Standard Bible and the New Living Translation both use the word heart in chapter 35 more than the NIV in case you were wondering.
- 35:5 Take up an offering among you for the Lord. Let everyone whose heart is willing bring this as the Lord’s offering
- 35:21 Everyone whose heart was moved and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the Lord
- 35:26 And all the women whose hearts were moved spun the goat hair by virtue of their skill.
- 35:29 So the Israelites brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts prompted them to bring something for all the work that the Lord, through Moses, had commanded to be done.
The motivating factor in the giving of the Israelites to the Tabernacle was in their hearts. They were moved in their hearts and prompted in their spirits to donate, and donate generously. You will read tomorrow in chapter 36; Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work for the sanctuary came one by one from the work they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than is needed for the construction of the work the Lordcommanded to be done.” After Moses gave an order, they sent a proclamation throughout the camp: “Let no man or woman make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” So the people stopped. The materials were sufficient for them to do all the work. There was more than enough.
All giving starts in our hearts. We have to be willing and generous. If those two factors exist, than we will overcome whatever difficulty or sacrifice the giving may mean. So many churches preach and encourage a 10% tithe from its attendees, but I would rather talk about what motivates our giving and whether our hearts are in the right place. If those two things are in line with God, then generous giving flows out of them. It means answering questions like: Whose money is it anyway, mine or God’s? What comes first when I get my paycheck? Am I giving because I have to or because I want to? Am I giving generously or grudgingly? Do I give selfishly? Whose needs to I look after first, my own or others? Hard questions. Dangerous questions maybe.
But in this story the generous giving only came about because the hearts of the people responded to the need.
I once heard of a pastor who stood up in front of his church to ask them for extra donations for a special project. He said to them: “The good news is we have all the money we need to complete this project. The bad news is most of it is still in your wallets.”
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 36-38