By Lee Walker | 4 of 4 in the Year-End Giving series
Centuries ago, God asked His people to fund a project. Moses was the leader and the people were the only source to provide what was needed to build the tabernacle in the wilderness. This capital campaign is described for us in Exodus 35 and 36 and we learn at least five lessons about giving.
Lesson 1: God wants us to give with a willing heart.
How much should I give to God? A poor person might say, “Surely God must understand. It doesn’t matter. The most I could give to God would still not be enough to make a difference.” An affluent person might say, “Surely God must understand. If I give proportionately, as some suggest, the amount would be unfairly large.” No doubt we are missing the point if we use such excuses. God is much less concerned with the amount than he is with the motive. “Willingness” is God’s first requirement. In this passage, He speaks directly and lovingly to the willing. When God addresses a group and says, “Whoever is of a willing heart…” don’t you long to respond and know He is talking to you? There is no external criteria here. Each of us can be part of a special group, dear to God, merely by developing and expressing a willing heart.
Lesson 2: God wants us to give with intentionality.
In what way should I give to God? Thoughtless giving is not nearly as meaningful and effective as intentional giving. The New Living Translation of Exodus 35:20 says, “So all the people left Moses and went to their tents to prepare their gifts.” Worshipful giving, pleasing to God, involves preparation. Do you give thought and prayer to the matter of giving? What is there to think about? To Prepare? Once we settle the matter of willingness, then, indeed, the issue of amount comes into play. Beyond that, we should consider frequency, the place to give, the kinds of gifts, and the way to give. For some, developing ways to involve our families is part of the preparation. For giving to be worshipful, it involves not only our hearts (willingness) but our minds (preparedness) as well.
Lesson 3: God wants us to give with creativity.
Exodus 35:22-28 (cf: Romans 12:1)
What should I give to God? The easy answer (and a good one) would be, “Everything.” But God actually instructed His people what to bring. There was the obvious: Coins, jewelry, and other gold items; but also the not so obvious such as linen, goat hair, leather, and spices. Once an item is turned over to God it is amazing what can be accomplished. Our cash gifts, whether online, in the mail, or in-person… form a foundation for our giving, but often we can do more. Even beyond other types of assets, like property or stocks, there are the intangibles like our time and talent. Don’t ignore the possibility of making it a conscious point to give YOURSELF to God.
Lesson 4: God wants us to give with consistency.
When should I give to God? Moses worked out a system by which the materials for work on the tabernacle were supplied each day. Offerings were being brought by the people every morning. The supply of gifts kept up with demand. God’s work, both then and now, continues daily. Our role as providers for ministry demands we be faithful. Moses’ system reminds us to establish regular patterns in giving, be it daily, weekly, or monthly. In this way, obeying and worshipping God through giving becomes a normal part of our life. What parts of your life are so natural you never have to decide to do them… eating, sleeping, going to church? Giving can be one of those.
Lesson 5: God wants us to give with carefulness.
How should I give to God? Carefully! Generously, cheerfully, eagerly… but carefully. The experience described in Exodus 36:4-7 is remarkable. God’s people gave enough, and Moses had the good sense (and the God sense) to let them know, “God has used you to supply the need.” Not every ministry that uses God’s name is so honest and clear. Wise Christians avoid giving to ministries that won’t give straight answers or that are unwilling to be accountable. Those who provide resources to Bible Center have reason to know that money given to God is being used wisely and appropriately and that bogus causes are not created simply to raise money. Praise God for generous givers, responsible leadership, and a wonderful history of accomplishment for Jesus Christ.
Lee Walker is a graduate of Appalachian Bible College and has an MBA from Marshall University. He previously served for 29 years at ABC, working mainly in administrative areas including Development and Business. For 16 years he was Executive Vice-President of the College. Pastor Walker began his service at Bible Center in 1998 and served as Executive Pastor until 2017. He is married to Marty, has two children, three step-children and 17 grandchildren.