Take an offering for the Lord!

Scripture reading for January 31st: Exodus 35-40

I love to have fun!  When I am visiting someone in the hospital and find a room full of people, I sometimes say, ” When I see this many people, the first thing I think of is taking an offering!”  I’m sure this helps clear out the room–I’m usually left alone before long!  Just kidding!

In our reading in Exodus today, Moses was responding to the Lord’s earlier instructions (Exodus 25:1-2).  The Lord told Moses to have the Israelites bring Him an offering.  He wanted those who were willing to give as their heart prompted them.  His job was to receive the offering from the people and use it for God’s intended purpose.

Some people feel that when they give, they give to the pastor or to the church.  They feel that money is not too spiritual and that giving is sort of worldly.  Sometimes, they just don’t understand why the church needs money and find ways to justify not giving any themselves.  God’s heart is that we become willing givers.  He is the original giver and sets an example for us that is hard to beat.  Everything we have has come from His hand!  He sends rain for the earth and crops.   His gracious giving is hard to understand, considering how unfaithful we sometimes can be and wasteful, too.

Jesus taught that our giving was a prerequisite for determining God’s measure back to us.  “Give and it shall be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)  When we are stingy with our giving, we set limits on how much God can give back to us.  We open God’s hand when we open our hand and pocketbook.  These people in Exodus willingly gave a huge amount of gold, silver, bronze, oil and cloth.  They also freely gave of their time and talents to make what was needed for God’s house!  They gave so willingly and freely that Moses had to tell them to stop! (Exodus 36:6-7)

Wow!  As a pastor, I would like to experience that kind of generosity!  I would love to stand up on Sunday morning and beg the people to put away their offerings and not give that day!  However, when we understand that God our Father is a great giver and that He is blessed when we give Him an offering, why would I as your pastor want to hinder God’s blessing and measure back to you by telling you to hold back?  Giving is the one place in Scripture that God says you can test Him!  Malachi 3:8-12 instructs us to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse (where you are fed), and God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing you cannot contain.  May the Lord open the windows of heaven on you as you “bring him an offering”!

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound to every good work.” 2nd Corinthains 9:7-8

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