"Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him, you shall receive the contribution for me." (Exodus 25:2)
This past Sunday, we launched our Building Lives Capital Campaign. As you hopefully know, our goal through this campaign is to raise $50,000 to match a $50,000 grant that will enable us to meet the $100,000 required by the bank for a down payment for a loan to purchase the building at 2704 5th Ave. NW. (If you want to learn more of the details about this campaign, head to the Building Lives info page.)
On Sundays, we are studying the first six chapters of the book of Nehemiah. (If you missed the kick-off to the series, catch up on the Sermons page.) As I said in the first sermon of the series, I do not believe God wrote the book of Nehemiah as a template for 21st Century American churches to conduct capital campaigns. However, I believe there are truths and principles we can learn from Nehemiah that will help us in this campaign (and in life).
To help you see these principles, we are going to study a separate passage from Scripture here on the blog. Last week, I told you we would be looking at Exodus 25 where we see how the ancient Israelite people came together to make the tabernacle.
According to the study tools from Bible.org, the tabernacle
"...was the structure ordered built by God so that He might dwell among His people (Exodus 25:8). It was to be mobile and constructed to exacting specifications." (Bible.org article "The Structure of the Tabernacle")
The story of this "traveling temple" starts at the very beginning of chapter 25. As you can see in verse 2 (which is at the very start of this post), God instructed Moses to invite the people to contribute items for the tabernacle.
Next week, we'll see from verse 3 what the people were invited to give. But this week, I want you to see who is invited to give. And it's right there in verse 2: "From every man whose heart moves him".
To be clear, God isn't saying only males are invited to give. (The Hebrew word translated "every man" in the ESV can also be translated "every person".) Rather, God is saying that anyone who WANTS to give should give ("whose heart moves him"). This was to be a willing donation, not one coerced by force, duty, or command.
This echoes how God instructs us through the pen of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9 to give:
"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7)
God is admitting to us that He experiences joy when we give gladly and willingly. Such giving is an act of worship that brings a smile to His face, glory to His reputation, and (believe it or not) joy to your heart.
Because this is the type of giving God desires for you and from you, I would ask nothing less. Will you give willingly and joyfully to the Building Lives campaign, as God moves your heart? Over the next few weeks, we'll talk about the necessity and importance of giving sacrificially. But before we get there, we need to see that God instructs us not just from Exodus 25:2, but from all of Scripture that our giving should be done willingly.
(We studied the concept of giving willingly in greater depth last fall. If you'd like to revisit the topic, or go deeper with it, listen to our Oct 3, 2021 sermon from the How to Give series.)
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