“Oil for the light.” Exodus 25:6
God knows all our needs before the needs arrive. God instructed Moses not only to build the tabernacle but how to build His dwelling place. The blueprint for the place of worship was divine and given by God. The resources to build it were temporal and would be supplied by the people of God.
God instructed Moses to, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering.” Not every gift was to be received by Moses. God qualified the gifts should be given "of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” (Exo 25:2)
The motivation of the giver of the gifts to the place of worship was to be evaluated and was to be accepted only if there was a willingness of the heart and the mind of the giver. God reveals with this statement that the condition of the heart of the person in giving his gifts is as important as the gift itself.
God never requires of His people more than they are able. The place of worship did not just need gold and silver but also oil. Jesus makes this clear when He said about the widows offering:
“And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” (Luke 21:3-4)
God measures the gift, not by how much you give but how much you have left after the gift is given.
God does not measure how much you give but He also assesses the state of your heart and mind in giving the gift. Jesus, teaching “Kingdom of God” attitudes and how His subjects in His kingdom should behave, said:
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Mat 5:23-24)
God is not discouraging giving the gift, He was discouraging giving the gift if people are not at peace with both Him and others. Notice Jesus said, “… and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee.” We indeed are our “brother's keeper” to the mind of God.
The Apostle Paul, on this subject, said, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” (Rom 15:1) We have an obligation to seek out and restore relationships that have been damaged, not only at our own fault. We must seek out the ones who have “ought against” us to restore them to fellowship.
When Jesus said, “Leave there thy gift before the altar…” He was teaching the receiving of the gift by God was tangent to proper “Kingdom” living. Giving a gift to God that God will receive is a privilege that we earn as we live the life that God desires for us.
Religious institutions will receive the gifts from saints and sinners alike. Many church groups seek gifts from the community to assist them in their ministry’s needs. Often these groups cloak these events with the cover of outreach to the lost.
Hosting rummage sales, bean suppers, carwashes seeking gifts from merchants for VBS and other activities is not how God’s work is sponsored. God’s people are the ones who have the privilege to provide the gifts to do God’s will.
How are you giving to God’s work? Are you supplying the “gold” or the “oil” that is needed to do the temporal work of God in the world? If you are, is God receiving these gifts to do His work or is the religious institutions who will receive gifts from any for their purpose benefiting from your offerings?
The way a follower of God should offer their gifts to God is revealed in these words:
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Co 9:7)
Give to God with a heart that has the right purpose and be a “cheerful giver” and you will be blessed by God. Remember when you give to God with the right heart and purpose you will be in God’s favor. Jesus said:
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)
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