Moses gave them the materials donated by the people of Israel as sacred offerings for the completion of the sanctuary. But the people continued to bring additional gifts each morning. Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work. They went to Moses and reported, “The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the lord has commanded us to do!” So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!” So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.
Our level of generosity is a pretty strong reflection of either how strong of a hold we are clutching onto our money with, or how open handed we are with the blessings of God as we seek to be good stewards of what He has entrusted us with.
How often do we give with abandon in our lives? And not just with our money, but with our time and our attention?
Can we imagine someone saying to us, you have given enough already, we have all that we need. Please, you don’t need to give more.
Oh, how amazing would it be to give so much of ourselves that others might say, “No, you need to take some time for yourself, you need to keep some of this for yourself” because we have given so freely and abundantly.
And not so that we would be puffed up and proud, but so that we might know that the needs were not just met, but that our blessings were poured out to the point of overflowing to honor the Lord.
Imagine the impact of a pastor or televangelist standing up on television and saying, “Friends, you were too generous. Not only was the need met, but you have given to much. Expect a check in the mail with 10 percent back because you far exceeded what we needed.”
Can we even fathom such transparency and honesty and responsibility in a world that clings so tightly to mammon?
Isn’t it sad that we neither expect ourselves to give generously to that level, and we don’t trust most leaders to responsibly handle the situation if there is an over abundance of generosity?
I wonder how much trust was earned by the leadership in their responsible handling of their people’s generosity. I wonder if the culture of honor in their leadership all along is what made the great generosity and the over abundance, and the obedient and responsible request to stop giving possible.
You see, we seem to have gotten things turned on their head. Spiritual leaders aren’t to be rulers lording over others, but they are to be servants. Spiritual leaders are to be provided for, but it isn’t their money that they receive any more than it is our money that we give. It is God’s blessing to be managed responsibly and effectively.
Then, it was tangible things given for the temple. These days money isn’t even real or tangible. It is simply a number that indicates who you are a slave to and how you compare to others. It is simply a transfer of trust between two or more parties who have agreed to use money as a means for trading goods and services.
There is no gold sitting in a vault to substantiate any real value in a dollar. Credit is lended to governments by central banks run and controlled by the elite and powerful. When we are participating in financial transactions, we are doing little more than trading trust and credit with one another.
So when we give generously to a charity or a religious group, etc – we are trusting them to be good stewards of that trust. We are giving them the opportunity to leverage what is ours towards what we hope are our common purposes.
But oh, how history has proven that the trust is continually broken. Because while preaching about contentment and responsibilities and open handedness and being a servant to all, the enticement is there. When generosity overflows, and needs are more than met, they look for more ways to spend. The money burns a hole in their pockets and it slips through their fingers like sand, as bigger towers are built, as names other than Jesus Christ are lifted high in shining lights, as little Kingdoms are built, with little regard to the responsibility and the respect that should be in place for trust and generosity to work together as a well oiled machine. And kingdoms fall just like the fall of Babylon, and doors are closed, and people are stumbled by the self seeking false teachers who seek to exalt themselves.
It is a real danger, and it is not unique to big churches or small churches. It is common to wolves who seek to devour the sheep. It is common to hired hands who do not care for the sheep when the wolves come. Those who would fleece the sheep and leave them cold in the winter, just to fill their pockets with a few more silver coins. They follow in the path of Judas, and they will recognize their similar fate when their time draws to a close and they face judgement.
They have no real fear of God, they have replaced it with a love of money and pleasure. They do not face suffering or persecution or struggle – they run into the arms of comfort and luxury and the false security of their great wealth.
These are not the teachers that we seek. These are dangerous wolves. These are greedy thieves simply looking to separate people from their money.
And this is not the life that we seek. We seek security in the Lord and in Him alone.
Let us find teachers and leaders of integrity. Those who help those in need. Those who are frugal and reasonable with this great responsibility of managing the storehouse. Those who will seek what is necessary and no more. Those who would say, you have given generously, you have given more than our need. You have filled the storehouse, and the Lord’s promises are proven true as always.
Malachi 3:10 ESV
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
Let us be the cheerful giver and the generous servant with our time and money, helping those in need. Let us not cling to the pieces of silver, but cling to our Lord and Savior. And let’s recognize those who have invested so dearly into our lives – and let’s honor them by saying, “You have done enough mother/father/spouse/friend. Let me now serve you. You have filled my life with your love and time and generosity and caring, and I want to honor you by giving what little I have in time/appreciation/support to honor you, even as a dim reflection of how much you have honored me.”
And Jesus Christ who has shown us such great mercy and grace, there is no one that has poured into us more than our Lord and Savior. Isn’t it time that we recognize that He has filled our storehouse with the abundant fruit of love, isn’t it time that we say, you have filled me Lord, let me sing your praises, let me give back to you the very love that you have shown me.
A life overflowing is the result of overflowing grace, of the unending generosity of our teacher. And we learn to walk in the ways of our teacher when we seek to learn and follow Him.
Continue to change and refine me, making me more aware of your presence.