Lent 2018: See the Lord's Salvation: Day 33

Offerings to Build the Tabernacle

by

Today's Text: Exodus 35:1-35, John 10:17-18, Romans 12:1

Scripture Reading: Exodus 35:1-35, John 10:17-18, Romans 12:1

Our giving can feel empty sometimes, can’t it? Perhaps it’s because we have been wounded by frenzied sermons on giving or the pulsing belief that if we’re not giving everything, we’re disobeying the demand of a greedy God. Giving can feel like a form of karma; we cross our fingers and hope as we give that it will be given back to us in equal or greater measure. Or it can feel like checking a box, doing our duty as Christians. Or perhaps, we withhold giving to the Lord because we don’t trust Him with our finances, our security, or our portion.

I have been to all those places. There have been years of my life when I was living paycheck to paycheck, barely scraping by, certain I couldn’t afford to give anything to the Lord. And then other years of my life when I was indifferent to the needs of others. But then, nearly a decade ago, when my check-the-box giving had dwindled to nothing, and my indifference had grown to an insurmountable level, God began to teach me that there was something He wanted far, far more than my money; He wanted my heart and my spirit.

In this passage we see the detailed list of what the people of God brought to help build and adorn the tabernacle. Moses is attentive in his communication of what God desired and also what the people gave. This is saying something about God: He cares about the details of our lives, what we can give and what He created us to give. No two gifts are exactly alike. It is as if Moses is saying: your gift matters because you matter to God. He cares about the knitting of your heart and the crafting of your hands, the things you make and the livelihood He’s given you. And because we can know He cares about these things, our hearts are moved by that love and, in obedience to the Spirit inside of us, we can freely give.

There’s nothing obligatory or forced about this kind of offering. God alone can move in our heart and prompt our spirit to bring what we have as an offering to Him (Exodus 35:21). We give because He first gave to us. It is not—as some angry preachers shout from lofted pulpits—because we owe God everything, but simply because everything we have is owned already by God. Offering all we have to the Lord is only possible because He already gave everything to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

What is in your hands today? How has God uniquely crafted you, knit you together, formed you, and made you? What stirs your heart and your affections for Him? For the Church? For your brothers and sisters? What moves your heart toward God? Give Him the gifts of your heart, your passion, your provision. That’s what He’s asking for: the gift of your delight and cheerful giving.

SRT-Lent2018-Instagram-Day33

Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

  • Leslie Limardo

    I find it interesting that in many of these passages it says “everyone whose heart was moved” or had willing hearts. What about the others? Not everyone gave. Same is true of churches, schools volunteer opportunities. Not everyone gives but everyone benefits.

  • Peony Noirr

    ❤️

  • Amy VanderHoff

    I love that God called everyone who was willing to give materials and/or their skills to build the tabernacle. Several years ago my husband was laid off at work. I was a stay at home mom at the time bringing in $0 income. Until that point we had been tithing regularly but we had to decide how we were going to give when we had nothing (on paper) to offer! God gave us the solution… my husband gave an offering of his time to serve regularly at our church. We didn’t have money to put in the offering plate for a season, but he had more time on his hands and he gave it to the Lord.

  • Wow, God’s timing is amazing! Yesterday I gave something big to God, and although I know it was the right thing to do it’s hard to trust him and not to freak out about it. This passage and devotion spoke to me so much this morning, but if I’d have read it last week it wouldn’t have had the same impact! It’s wonderful to know how he sees us and knows what we need. Thank you Jesus.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing this Beth. We’re so glad that you’re reading along with us! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • It’s been such a wonderful experience to study the word of God through this plan! We can see how everything is connected in the Bible. God bless you all! With love, from a brazilian reader.

  • Jacinda Daddow

    Be sure to give to the Lord the best portions of the gifts given to you – Numbers 18:29 NLT

  • Abbigail Gutierrez

    This was such a great post on giving. Thank you. I feel that so much giving talk that I hear is simply about money and a coercion to give regardless of what/how the Lord is leading us to give. It gets lost and so many are turned off by this. Ive struggled through the years with what is required or asked of me. When man is telling you how or how much or what to give its hard to not do it out of guilt or to just not give at all, becoming cynical about it. And i think the verse about giving cheerfully speaks volumes. Allowing the Lord to lead us and when we fully submit to him we will naturally give cheerfully. But trusting in the Lord on this is so important.

  • I like that I have the daily choice to give myself and all that I am to God. And while I would like to think that I said it once and that is sufficient; I am far to familiar with the simplest of temptations that lead me astray. The actions involved in making that daily choice are for my benefit. I need the daily renewal of surrendering all to him so that I may give without reservation.

  • Barbara Thompson

    Thanks for your thoughts on giving.So many times I have sensed that many messages that I have heard about giving are manipulation.

  • Emily Blomberg

    Loved this, thank you.

  • Tanya Herrera Rodriguez

    I have to admit that for the last year I was barely giving my offering and didn’t give my tithe. About 2 months ago as we started to go to a new church, the HS prompted me to tithe even though we’re living paycheck to paycheck right now. This is my third week paying my full tithe and I’ve never felt so much of His presence in my everyday life. Doors have opened and somehow extra income has been pouring in these last few weeks. It’s as if We’re finally showing to up the promises he has made. Now we’re in a season of figuring out how we can share our gifts with our church and community. We’re excited to see how that unfolds with our schedules.

  • Lizzieb85

    Did anyone notice this over the course of the whole book?

    God pressed it upon the Egyptians to give the Israelites gold, silver, etc… to get rid of the Israelites. God gave the Israelites the materials for the tabernacle through the Egyptians. Unfortunately it seems they used some of that to make the golden calf, but also to adorn themselves. Exodus 33:4-6 says God was so mad He made them take off their jewelry. They stayed unadorned after that. In today’s reading (vs 22) we read that they gave all sorts of jewelry for the tabernacle. Jewelry that God made them take off? For the purpose of giving back to God?

    He provided, they used His provisions for sin & self, He punished for misuse of His provisions, & they ultimately gave it back with willing hearts.

    • Bessie

      No, I didn’t notice that! Wow! That is so true. It reminds me of Jesus with the parable of the gifts. That the ones who used it for others were given more and it was taken away from the one who buried it. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Cindy

      I did notice this!

    • Kari

      Oh my goodness this is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Clare

      Yes – I’ve seen that through reading the whole book too. I’m sure the Israelites thought they’d ‘won the lottery’ when they plundered the Egyptians, but God had a purpose in mind. It’s a great reminder to us that whatever God gives to us is still His, we are always blessed to be a blessing x

    • Kelsey Watkins

      So cool, thanks for sharing!

  • One of the things that spoke to me today was that there was an invitation to give.
    “Everyone is invited to bring these offerings to the Lord:…” (v.5)NLT
    “Come all of you who are gifted craftsmen…” (v.10) NLT
    The second stand out for me was that the givers were willing or wanted to give. They gave time, skill, knowledge or resources. But they wanted to.
    In verses: 21 (“…hearts were stirred and they desired to do so”),
    :22 (“….all those whose hearts were willing..”),
    :26 (“All the women who were willing …),
    :29 (” …every man and woman who wanted to help in the work the Lord had given them ….”)

    I am currently ticking a lot of boxes that Lore talked about today when it comes to giving. May my heart be stirred to give passionately & full of worship to the One who gave me everything, especially Life itself.

  • These passages opened my eyes today to see Gods wonderful in our mundane. I often feel that I’m worn down or that my “gifts” are one sided and or not extravagant enough to bring change to a broken world. That my “day to day” is really all I can handle. That is the enemy, we know. But something about how holy and perfect God made the simplicity of crafting, sparked a new sense of hope in my heart that no gift to the kingdom is small or insignificant. Even the crafting and folding of linens was a gift to be cherished from the Lord and ultimately prepared the way for our savior! None of our gifts are a waste or given in vein. May we all take what the Lord has already gifted us and cherish that as worship today. He created those gifts and they are ever so sweet. Thank you lord for your amazing gifts, may we return them with cheerful and passionate hearts.
    Amen

  • This reminds me of that hymn by Christina Rossetti. “What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I was a shepherd I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part; Yet what can I give Him? Give Him my heart.” That’s all He’s asking for.

  • Amy Loflin

    What a great conversation to have! Sabrina, I think I would feel the same way if my local church talked about financial giving so much- in the light that it can be an obstacle for seekers. I’d encourage you to try to express that concern to someone in leadership? I agree with the other comments as well. Jesus was clear to tithe 10% to a church. I consider our support of missionaries or other local agencies as an offering above and beyond the tithe. Such a perfect point made in the blog- it’s all already His anyway. And yes, when we cover it in prayer and do as we feel lead, how can we go wrong? God bless you, ladies!

  • Carole Cannon

    I have to agree with Ivey – I was taught to tithe by my parents – always giving to my church. Then the Lord showed me there are so many ways you can tithe- I give to our church along with a couple of other missions . I too want to be open to how the Lord leads. I feel when we give to what we are passionate about – it makes us a cheerful giver and not one out of responsibility.

  • Sabrina Michelle

    We are so blessed to be a blessing to others. I don’t feel as if I’m losing anything but simply responding to love God shows me everyday. It’s also a form of therapy for the believer, to give cheerful to those in need and to help build our Father’s kingdom.❤️❤️❤️

  • Churchmouse

    Our oldest daughter is an excellent teacher. She has taught second, fourth and fifth grades. She loved her students and they became eager learners under her care. Then she had her two children and decided she would stay at home to raise them. It was not an easy decision. She loves teaching and knows God has gifted her in that field. She also knows that her primary mission field is her family. She has received some mixed reactions to her decision. With today’s Scriptures in mind, I would like to encourage those who have had to make tough and perhaps unpopular or misunderstood decisions. If you have prayerfully sought the Lord’s leading and are following His guidance, you are smack dab in the middle of His will with that decision. He will honor it and you. Press on. Hold your head high. Put your shoulders back. You are fulfilling His purpose for your life even if others may not think so. There is no better place to be than in the center of His will. I applaud your courage and faith in doing so.

    • Kelly Chataine

      She will continue to teach her own children with the same passion. She is a courageous woman and I am thankful for her!

    • Heather N (MNmomma)

      THank you so much…..your words pierced thru my heart this morning…hugs!!!

    • Mari

      I was at home mom for 11 years! I don’t regret any of it. God provided for everything! With that decision came some sacrifices. My kids have never been to Disneyland and have lived very simple. But I was home with them. And our God was and is faithful.
      Now that our lives took a turn and now we are separated from their dad, I believe that me being home developed that strong relationship which is helping our relationship here where we are now. Oh… theres trials with my children and my heart aches right now at this moment. I’m trusting that the Lord will work it out.

    • Becky

      Thank you for saying this, churchmouse!

  • Caroline Smith

    I am sometimes torn about this. I always tithe my 10%, always, but sometimes I wonder if I’m supposed to give it to our local church? I love our local church, I do, but sometimes I feel like they talk a bit too much about offerings (like 10–15 minutes each service) and I think it’s enough to turn newcomers off? But I also LOVE Lifechurch (church online) and feel like I get most out of Craig’s messages. Should I split my tithe between both churches? Or give 100% to the local church bc that’s most impressionable upon my child?

    • Ivey Broxton

      Hi ! Caroline – I have gone back and forth about this myself and it is commonly discussed among our circle of friends – we split our tithe between our local church and a couple that we sponsor who leads a Methodist on campus church here at UGA. There have been seasons (actually right now) where this is not an even split based on needs and how we feel God is leading us. I would pray through it – maybe even try to split it and see if that seems different to you. All in all – being a willing and cheerful giver is what the Lord asks of us. Hands and hearts open – hope this helps !

    • Jessica

      We also split our offering between the church and Christian school my son attends. Although, it’s not an even split. I am comfortable with this approach, but it took a few discussions and lots of prayer to get to this point.

    • Kelly Chataine

      We give our tithes to our home church and our offerings sometimes stay at our home church or go outward and support groups, missions, and online worship sites.

    • Donna P

      Hey Caroline, I might encourage you to read and dig into the book of Acts and really pray over that decision. Giving is out of the overflow of our hearts so it looks different for everyone. I do know God’s word shows us how the first church lived, it wasn’t only about giving but it was living as a community. I’m a huge advocate for serving and giving to the church you belong to because that is how it’s modeled in Acts. Hope that helps and encourages you Caroline.

    • Fiona Murray

      Tithing should be given to the church where you get your spiritual input. If that church isn’t for you though…

    • Caroline Smith

      Thank you so much!!!!!! I do love both churches … but Craig Groeschel at LifeChurch SPEAKS to me EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK! …. however I know the more impressionable soul is of my son, and therefore we go to the local church for that

  • Tochi Heredia

    This week was my first in my new job. I’m going to the office today offering Him my time and my abilities back to Him to use them as He wants. I know this job hasn’t happened for no reason, so I’m asking Him to lead me in my daily giving and sacrificing.

    Happy Friday, sisters!

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