How to Give
by Pr. Dave Mann
The preparation of the building of the Tabernacle, the dwelling place of the Lord among his people, has pertinent lessons for us, even thousands of years later.
For this in-gathering of building materials, there was no tax per person. There was no requirement for each family. There was no competition between the twelve tribes. There was simply the command of the Lord: “You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give.” God instructed Moses to accept gifts from the people who wanted to give—no manipulation, no pressure, no arm-twisting. There is a similar instruction given by Paul to the Corinthians in his collection for the gift to the famine-struck region of the early church in and around Judea. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
But note well, the gifts were to be of high quality—“gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems.” Just because there was no arm-twisting, this did not mean the Lord would be pleased with any old thing and cast-offs. There was no mention of a minimum amount, but there were specifications concerning the quality of the gifts. Just as in the sacrificial code to be given later, the animals brought to the altar for sacrifice could have no blemish or defect (Leviticus 22:21).
What is the nature of your heart when you give to the Lord? Is there some competition with others? Is there some grumbling or discontent as you give? Are your gifts leftovers—whatever you have remaining at the end of the month or just prior to the next paycheck? Or do you give as your heart prompts you, with cheer and delight? Is your gift of high quality, whatever the size? Do you give first fruits? “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops” (Proverbs 3:9).
The promise of the Lord was that when Moses would build a sanctuary from gifts given with this sort of heart attitude and with gifts of such quality, He would dwell among the people. May this be true of us as well.
Thank you, Lord, for the lessons you prepared for us thousands of years ago. We pray for forgiveness when we give with grumbling and resistance of heart. By your grace, allow us to give with joy and cheer, in Jesus’ name, who first gave to us. Amen.