The Heart of Giving

The story is told of a fledgling ministry with a significant number of parishioners. The leadership was convinced that God wanted the ministry to enter into a building program. In their case, land wasn’t a problem. They decided to build without taking out a loan and to do all the work in-house. After laying the burden before the people, the people responded by contributing their time, their treasures, and their talents to the building program. Very quickly all of the raw material was financially provided and all of the craftsmen were in place. The leadership actually had to tell the people to stop giving to the building program because they had all that they needed. Within a short period of time, the building was completed – debt free.

Does this story sound like pie in the sky? Although it seems incredible, it is not impossible.  Actually, it serves as a modern day analogy for the account in Exodus 35-40 of the building of the Tabernacle. In Exodus 35:4-19, Moses appeals to the Israelites to provide physical resources and personal skill for the construction of the Tabernacle. The people respond with such an outpouring of giving of their physical resources that Moses had to ask them to stop giving (35:20-29; 36:3-7). God also enabled a select number of craftsmen to construct the Tabernacle and its furnishings (35:30-39:43). Following the purification of the Tabernacle, the glory of God settled upon it (40:1-38).

What was the source of giving? Moses makes it quite clear by repeating the same concept in chapters 35 and 36 – “Whoever is of a generous heart” (35:5), “everyone whose heart stirred him” (35:21), “All who were of a willing heart” (35:22), “All the women whose heart stirred them (35:26), “the people of Israel, whose heart moved them” (35:29), “whose heart stirred him up” (36:2). God-honoring giving always begins in the heart. Therefore, that is where any discussion of giving should begin.

Doug Finkbeiner

About Doug Finkbeiner
I am a Professor of New Testament and Pastoral Theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA.

2 Responses to The Heart of Giving

  1. Herb Hunter says:

    Doug…thanks for the post, Doug. We are in the middle of a building program and this was an encouragement to me!

    • Doug Finkbeiner says:

      Good to hear from you, Herb. May God continue to guide and bless you in leading His church.

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