One thing I love about this reading plan is that we alternate OT & NT. So many times one will shine a light on the other and illuminate the passage in a way I’ve not considered before. Today was no different!
Exodus 35:5, 10 ESV
Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze…
Let every skillful craftsman among you come and make all that the Lord has commanded:
Exodus 36:3b-5 ESV
They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.”
What a simple but impacting passage! I find it interesting that God appealed to their generous hearts, rather than just demanding; and how He asked them to donate not just possessions, but also their time and talents. While God asked for different things from different people, He asked for one purpose: Building His Tabernacle. What I love most is how the Israelites responded with intense generosity! In fact, they gave so much that Moses had to actually STOP them from giving any more!
The same generosity is seen in Acts 3. A lame man was begging at the temple gates when he asked Peter for money:
Acts 3:5-8 ESV
And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
Peter had a generous heart. What the lame man needed in that moment wasn’t money. It wasn’t a sermon. It was healing. So Peter gave him Jesus. And it changed this man’s life.
I love the line, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.” Sometimes it’s hard to feel generous because we don’t have much. But generosity isn’t limited to finances – many times our generosity is more effectively seen in our time and talents. It’s when I stop to encourage someone who is having a bad day, or when I give someone a ride when their car breaks down. It’s when I offer to help someone figure out their financial issues, or I when I take the time to explain a passage to a new believer.
When I recognize that my giving is not so much about the “what” as it is the “why,” it makes it easier to be generous with the things that cost me the most – things like my time, skills, and abilities, which are often harder to give than money itself.
I may not have a lot of money, but I do have time. I do have talents. And ultimately, I have Jesus. May I be as generous with Him as He’s been to me.
Father, thank you for showing me these examples of generosity in Scripture. Cultivate in me a generous heart that is quick to give to those in need, regardless of the cost or time that it requires. Help me to give generously, with great joy, in order to further Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Bethany Harris (drgnfly1010)