Everyone is invited to bring these offerings to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen; goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; olive oil…spices…onyx stones…—So all the people left Moses and went to their tents to prepare their gifts. If their hearts were stirred and they desired to do so, they brought to the Lord their offerings…both men and women came, all whose hearts were willing—————Bring no more materials! You have already given more than enough!
Ex.35:5-9NLT; Ex.35:20-22NLT; Ex.36:6NLT
What a testimony to the very nature of God! When His people are so eager to give that there is more than enough to do the work of God.
God is a lavish giver. He is a Fountain(!) of life and the Giver of all good gifts. He graces His children with all they will ever need and more besides. Even his enemies revel in the sunshine and drink freely from the rain He supplies. And He calls us to be like Him, to be giving and forgiving without keeping a record of the details. Why is this so hard? If we could fathom His unstoppable love and His infinite knowledge of all the details of our lives might we learn to stop clinging to what we call our own and living as if frugality were a spiritual gift?! To steward is not the same as to hoard. I am given lavish gifts not to possess but to use to bless…
For one who has always had a miserly streak, this calling is a stretch. In the days when trick-or-treating wasn’t recognized as essentially pagan, I knew how to make my haul of Halloween treats last till Easter (to the envy of my siblings! Or maybe they just thought me crazy?) and one beautiful Christmas lollipop was so special it never did get eaten! I stashed it for years till it got so sticky it was altogether undesirable. I am well practiced at ‘saving’ things but not so good at being generous… Even as an adult I tend to tuck away the ‘treat’ in case there never comes another. I hold tight to treasures and am not apt to share–as though God’s blessings might dry up, his daily graces cease–I had better be prepared!
But this morning several verses leapt from the page to confront me:
The wicked borrow and never repay; but the godly are generous givers.—Give as freely as you have received!—Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver—Remember this–a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop
Ps.37:21 NLT; Mt.10:8NLT; II Cor.9:7 ESV; II Cor.9:6NLT
And other passages were not long in following up the theme. It’s all throughout Scripture. God is generous and He expects that I will be as well.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit—whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior—I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts—the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
Rom 5:5 NKJV; Tit 3:6 ESV; Rev.21:6NKJV; Jn.4:14NKJV
In fact my generosity brings Him glory as it gives evidence of the great grace of God at work in me. I give because He has given to me. I forgive because I have been forgiven. And my cheerfulness in the process reveals my strong confidence in the God who meets all my needs. It’s all quite wonderful really to see how it’s meant to work:
You will be glorifying God through your gifts. For your generosity to them will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you.
Happy are those who delight in doing what [the Lord] commands…All goes well for those who are generous, who lend freely and conduct their business fairly…they confidently trust the Lord to care for them…They give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.— Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
II Cor.9:13,14NLT; Ps.112:1,5,7,9NLT; Eph, 5:1-2 NKJV
And the more I reflect on God’s nature, the more petty (and un-godly!) my own selfish tendencies look. Only a fool tries to contain a fountain in a pill bottle. What is the sense in trying to ration unending mercies?
So my prayer today is that God will change my heart toward my possessions and make me a more generous soul, and… that He will give opportunity (today?) to share what He has given. May I pray the same for you?
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work—Thank God for his Son–a gift too wonderful for words!— Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
II Cor. 9:8-9 ESV; II Cor.9:15NLT; Gal 6:10 NKJV
because He is more than enough for me,