Israel had its fair share of mistakes throughout the Old Testament. However, not every decision was bad. In Exodus 35:4-29, the Lord commanded Israel to build his Tabernacle. He told them in detail the materials needed and exactly what they needed to do. Moses shared with Israel all the Lord told him, and Israel’s response is beautiful. They departed and returned with the needed materials for building the Tabernacle. The beauty doesn’t stop with their giving, though. Israel also got to work in the actual building of the Tabernacle.
The imagery created in my mind while reading was such an exciting one. I can just imagine women and men joyfully bringing their contributions. I can imagine the unity that took place as they worked alongside one another to complete different tasks, all with the same goal. Israel pulled all their resources and talents together, all for the sake of the Kingdom. It’s a wonderful picture.
Though Christ has come and fulfilled the need for the Tabernacle and all that goes with it, we can still follow Israel’s example in our churches today. Christ uniquely gifts each of us at salvation. Some gifts are teaching and evangelism, while others are gifted in showing mercy and being compassionate. Every gift is of equal value in the church, though. The person teaching Sunday school doesn’t have more value than the person running sound during the worship service. Just like with Israel, we’re all equipped to do different tasks, but every task is a needed one. All gifts and tasks are equal because they’re for the same goal- the building of God’s Kingdom.
Besides spiritual gifts, Christ has also given each us varying resources. This could be finances, a flexible job schedule, or material things. It could be a house that can be opened up for Bible study or an extra car for someone to borrow. Every penny we make and every resource we own isn’t ours; it’s God’s. Every talent or gift we have isn’t ours either. God gives us these things so we may use them to reach the lost and edify the church, all for his glory.
The issue with our gifts and resources and how we use them lies when we become possessive over them and want to “hoard” them as ours. Absolutely nothing we have is actually ours. Like I said, everything we have is from God. It’s all his. When we grasp this, we’ll begin to steward these things well. Our grip on our gifts and resources will loosen. It’ll be okay if soda is spilled on the sofa, because it really isn’t ours anyway. A soda spilled might mean a child or student spent time in our home being loved and learning about Jesus. We’ll more easily volunteer our time to the church, because it’s God’s time, not ours. We won’t hold fast to the things of this world because we know they’re not ours, not eternal, and given to us for a bigger purpose. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we’ll see he’s worthy of all our gifts, talents, and resources being used for the sake of his Kingdom. Our pride will shrink as we no longer use these things for comfort, convenience, or self-glorification. We’ll humbly submit these to Christ and use them to build his Kingdom, not our own. We’ll begin to learn that there’s extreme joy found in serving as Christ has served us. When we obey God by giving our gifts and resources to him, we’ll experience a far deeper and more lasting satisfaction than anything this world can offer.
In this case, I say let’s be like Israel. May we realize nothing we have is our own, but it’s all for Christ. Let’s joyfully bring everything we have to the Lord so he can use it to further his kingdom. Let’s work alongside one another with our different gifts and resources, all with the same goal- to see our Savior glorified among all the world.