March 11, 2017

Exodus 36:5 “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”

When God’s people catch the vision, they rejoice to be part of His supply. I am reminded of Paul’s description of the believers in Thessalonica: “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (2 Corinthians 8:2) Any time we are able to take our eyes off of ourselves and fix them on God and what He is doing, everything gets easier. I am constantly dealing with the bad effects of self-centeredness, most often in others but sometimes in myself as well. Given the human condition, navel-gazing is a guaranteed recipe for misery! When I look over the list of materials God specified for building the tabernacle and everything in it, I am amazed that the people had hauled all that stuff that far out of Egypt. I’ve never even seen a tanned dugong skin! (Exodus 25:5) The KJV “ram’s skins” seems more probable, but some postulate dolphin skins. That aside, the quantities of gold and everything else were overwhelming, and the craftsmen had to put a halt to the supply. What a nice problem to have! We forget that the God who created everything by speaking it into being is never going to be short of anything. We give that fact lip service, but when push comes to shove, we tend to panic. We need to remember both sides of this situation. On the one hand, God will always supply everything needed for what He has directed. On the other hand, He offers us the privilege of being channels of His supply, and that is what this passage is talking about. More of God’s people need to discover the joy and blessings of giving, instead of being focused on receiving. In a rare quote that is not in the Gospels but that Paul preserved for us, Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) That’s true, but too often we don’t believe it!

I’m a fine one to be talking about this. I am very careful about tithing, but I tend to be skimpy with other financial gifts. I do, however, enjoy giving objects, and particularly things I have created. As a pastor, I am to model giving to the flock without trumpeting that I am giving, and that can be awkward at times. I am learning more and more about God’s provision. Bureaucracy got in the way of our being able to purchase the land next door to the church, but when it came to the money to do so, God materialized almost $300,000 out of thin air, so to speak. We have returned that, but the experience certainly has grown my faith. God has more plans for us. I need to be fully assured of His provision for all those plans, and I also need to be fully willing to be a conduit of that provision, for His glory.

Father, thank You for all the lessons You teach us. Help us be humble and submitted enough before You to recognize and receive those lessons, rather than “kicking against the goads.” (Acts 26:14) May all of Your plans for us be fulfilled, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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