All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anythingfor the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord.– Exodus 35:29
As God leads his people out of Egypt, the first thing he does is to give Moses the ten commandments, including the command to set aside the Sabbath to worship and rest. The focal point of Israel’s worship life would be the Tabernacle; a mobile sanctuary. Once they were aware of the need, the people provided the materials used to build the sanctuary willingly and generously. No one was coerced or manipulated to give. It was their own hearts that stirred, and that moved them to contribute. As I read this yesterday morning I wrote, “Lord, I am willing. I want to do my part. I want to bring my gift. I want to be part of something greater, something holy, something beautiful, something that pleases You. May our church be moved to glorify You as we show and share the Way of Jesus.”
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. – 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7
The night before last Saturday’s leader retreat I kept waking up as I thought of yet another item to add to my check list: power strip (check), bibles (check), retreat folders (check), speakers (check), guitar and songs books (check), remote control for the PowerPoint presentation (check), board games (check), recommended books (check). When I got to the office Saturday morning I loaded everything -- I thought -- into the van. Everyone arrived right at 8:00am. Perfect, I thought, we can get there on time too. As we entered our cars I was even excited about the pouring rain. To me, it made the day unique and special. If others were not feeling the same, they certainly didn’...