I have fallen in love several times in my life.
I first fell in love with Jesus during my childhood. I then fell in love with LeAnn when I was in college. And I fell in love each time I held one of my four children after their arrival into this wild world.
But I fell in love yet again in the summer of 2019. But this time it wasn't a person. It was Glacier National Park.
After visiting our oldest daughter in Spokane, Washington, for a few days, LeAnn and I and our two boys made the trek northeast to Glacier for a two-day camping/hiking adventure. I was completely in awe of the beauty of the trees, the mountains, the creeks, and all the views. I felt like I was constantly catching my breath, but not from the high altitudes. Like a groom overwhelmed by the beauty of his bride walking down the aisle, I was so moved by the inexpressible splendor of all I was seeing, I couldn't help but keep breathing out the word "Wow!" as I repeatedly worshiped the Maker of this glorious landscape.
Have you ever had a moment like that, one so filled with awe it leaves you nearly breathless? That sense of awe is what the ancient Israelites felt when the first-ever "capital campaign" was complete and the tabernacle erected.
Here on the blog, we've been looking at the "capital campaign" God instructed Moses to conduct in the book of Exodus. We saw from the first nine verses of chapter 25 who was invited to participate (the willing), what they were to give (what they had), and why they should give (for God's glory). Then last week, we saw the people begin to actually give to the project in chapter 35.
This week, we come to the end of this Building Lives series by jumping to the end of Exodus. First, at the concluding verses of chapter 39, we read:
"According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work. And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them."Exodus 39:42-43, ESV
They did it! After the Israelites contributed their FIST (finances, influence, skills, & time) toward the project, the work was finally completed, and the first-ever tabernacle was ready for use.
But then something awe-inspiring happened. And we see it in the last paragraph of the last chapter of the book:
"Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle."Exodus 40:34-35, ESV
Can you imagine? The people gathered together to celebrate the completion of the tabernacle as Moses dedicated this new "mobile temple" to the One and Only God, when suddenly the glory of God completely covered the tabernacle as a cloud. His presence was so overwhelming, not even the great Moses could enter the tabernacle. I can't help but wonder if the people felt like I did in Glacier National Park, only able to breathlessly express a whispered "Whoa!"
But I need to point out that this awe-filled blessing of experiencing God's glory couldn't have happened unless the Israelite people gave sacrificially and willingly to the project. If they had held back, I strongly suspect God would have held back. For if there was limited giving, there wouldn't have been a tabernacle for God to come inhabit and overwhelm with His presence.
I suspect it is going to be the same for our Building Lives capital campaign. We aren't going to get that blessing of awe unless we each find ways to sacrificially and joyfully give toward the down payment to purchase our building.
As we talked about in week 3 of our Nehemiah series, generosity for you might look different than it does for someone else in the Riverwood family. The point isn't that you give a general or specific amount. The point is that you give a generous and sacrificial amount. And in doing so, you create the opportunity to be overwhelmed with the awe of God, falling in love with Him yet again.
So as we come to the end of our campaign, can you give a joyful and generous amount this week? If you need more time, can you give us a heads-up by emailing Minette what you plan to give before July 3? Let's do what we can to give together, so we might enjoy the awe of the blessing of our giving.
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