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.
Lore Ferguson Wilbert