Read to Read …Again
Daily Reading: Exodus 33-35
The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.
Money. On one hand the source of such blessing and on the other the source of such conflict. True, during the Exodus, the time of which we read of in the book of Exodus, their offerings were silver, brass, wood, skins, linen, jewels, bracelets, earrings and assorted other prized possessions that Israel carried out of Egypt. Where did these individuals obtain such great wealth? After all, they had been in bondage as servants in Egypt. Perhaps you remember Exodus 12:36. And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians. The stuff they gave to God for the building of His tabernacle was the stuff God gave to them in the victory over the Egyptians.
Before we move on, consider one more practical point. In the wilderness there was no way to recoup the precious things they gave for the tabernacle. They did not “give to get.” They gave willingly. Neither did they expect a paycheck every two weeks to replace what they gave. They just gave from a spirit that was willing to give.
Another practical point to ponder is this. Everything that Moses needed to construct and maintain the tabernacle was already in the hands of the Israelites. Everything.
Now, did you know that when Stephen, the deacon, was preaching about Moses and the Exodus of Israel from Egypt that he called them “the church in the wilderness?” (Acts 7:38) As such, there are lessons that every church needs to learn from this group. Many lessons, countless lessons can, and should be learned. One such lesson is about giving. About money.
Local churches have members that have “spoils won in battles” and just like in I Chronicles 26:27, Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the LORD. Earning a living is a battle. Some members of churches from a willing heart and spirit dedicate some of those spoils to maintain the ministry of their church. They tithe, give to missions, and give offerings on top of that along the way. That is their choice.
However, unlike those in the church in the wilderness, members of churches today usually have an opportunity to gain more spoils. Most have paychecks that they receive routinely. Frankly, it took more faith for those in the Exodus to give than for most today to give.
But like those in the Exodus, everything a church needs to do that which the Lord wants that church to do is in the church (except perhaps a new church plant). If there is shortage in the church, it can only be that members do not give that which they can, or leadership has mismanaged that which was given.
Concerning money, it’s a terrible subject to have to discuss. Enough said.
William T. Howe Ph.D.