After church on Sundays, my niece and I would get to hang out. I would tell her she had $10 to spend on anything she wanted. Like most kids, she was elated to have money of her very own. She beamed with excitement as she dreamed about all the toys she would have to choose from.
Trying to use these as teaching moments, I would say, “Now remember, I’m giving you $10 and you can use it on anything that you want. And you may even want to give some to the Lord.”
Her walls went up and her lip came out. She was not wanting to let go of any of that money. We would talk about being thankful for the money we have received and why it’s important to give back to God.
“It’s your choice. You can keep it all for yourself or you can choose to give some to Jesus.”
Many times, she would decide she needed it all for a toy. But we would have the same conversation over and over, every Sunday we were together.
One day, she told me that the thing she wanted was only $7 and that would give her $3 to give to Jesus at church that night.
It had to come from the heart. I couldn’t force her to give. God loves a cheerful giver, not one that is mandated to do so.
I beamed with excitement as I watched her follow through.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” (Exodus 25:1-2)
Moses has gone up unto Mount Sinai and is meeting with God. He told Moses He would give him the law to give to the people and instructions about what to do. In the scriptures following His request for an offering, God describes the appropriate items to bring.
“And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25: 3-8)
These are some incredible things! How could the once slaves of Egypt have anything like this? Remember as the people were fleeing after the plagues, God had encouraged the hearts of the Egyptians to give the Israelites gold, jewels, fine linens and such.
So, all these things the people had, God had blessed them with. Now, He was asking for them to give back to Him, willingly.
He would not force them. They had to choose.
When we read this, we think, that’s no big deal. What do they need that stuff for anyways; they are in the wilderness. Just give it to Him. But that’s where the Lord knows more than we do. He knew how much the people cherished these fine things. He knew it would be a true sacrifice for them to give them up to Him.
Even if He promised to dwell with them in the sanctuary they made from the offerings, would they give from the heart?
Do we? God has blessed us in numerous ways. Are we giving from the heart?
Throughout this pandemic, church has changed. We aren’t passing the plate around like we did before. Now, you actually have to make an effort to give. Have you let that fall to the wayside? Just as God wanted the people to give from the heart, He asks that of us today.
What are you doing with what God has blessed you with? Is it all beneficial to you? Or are you sacrificing to give back to the Lord?