February 1, 2010 … Reading through the Bible in a Year
Blogger’s Note: This year of 2010, I continue in my commitment to read through the Bible in a year, using The Daily Bible by Harvest House Publishers, edited with commentary by F. Legard Smith, along with a companion book, The Daily Bible Commentary, by the same author, from which I’ll be drawing the organization and direction for my journaling.
Recently I had shoulder surgery [left rotator cuff repair] and until today, from that time on January 25th until today, my wife has been typing my handwritten journal notes; and I’m so thankful that she would do so. However, today, I’m typing my journal entry myself again with some care not to extend my shoulder beyond what it should take in doing this. But so far … so good; and I’m thankful to God that in this intervening week He’s shown me that I need not use the excuse of surgery and shoulder pain to back off from having the discipline of my quiet time and journaling my time in God’s word here in this place. And though I’ve been somewhat curtailed from my normal exercise regimen, I also have been able to be accountable here for my 40 Days of Commitment to body stewardship as well. Therefore, entering these data and my thoughts with my own typing, I’m here today to share with those who might read this.
Study from Exodus 35 - 38; Passage for Reflection: Exodus 36: 4 – 5 … NIV 4 So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work 5 and said to Moses, "The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done."
My Journal for Today: What a delicious dilemma for the leaders of God’s people to be in. God gives a vision for the Tabernacle to be built to Moses and the Priests who had been carrying on the Tent of Meetings outside the gates of the city; and the Lord was very specific – in fact, ultra exacting – with
His instructions; and then Moses passed along the charge of giving to the people, speaking God’s instructions, which (from Exod. 35: 4-5) were these words, "This is what the LORD has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering of gold, silver and bronze; … [and other materials needed for the Tabernacle construction].”
Have you ever been in a church when a special offering was taken which seemed to be logical based upon the terrible needs of desperate people … like what is happening now in Haiti, following the devastation of the horrible earthquakes there? Or don’t we all remember our hearts being drawn to give following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina or the after the Christmas Eve horror from the Tsunami which ravished the far east? But how about your heart when the Pastor of your Church or the Chairman of your Elder Board came to you, with a vision for a new building project which they reported was a consensus from their hearts as leaders as something God was leading them to do as a project which would extend God’s kingdom and give our Lord great glory? Were you as drawn to give, over an above your tithe and regular offerings, to such a project as you were to relieve the suffering in Haiti, New Orleans, or the far east?
But that’s where the Israelites were when Moses came to them, asking for God to be honored with a church building project. And what a project it was to be! To bring God Himself into the city; and to have a worship place which would glorify His Holy Name. It was to be THE TABERNACLE … the place where all who believed on God’s Name could worship Him with His presence there to reciprocate the worship of His Name. And notice that God didn’t order the people to give. He simply commanded those to give who would be led to give in faith (see Exod. 35: 4-5 above again); and wow, did they give?! As our target passage today indicates, the people gave so much that Moses had to put the brakes on their giving.
It is said that fewer than 5% of so-called Evangelical Christians tithe to their local church, let alone give above the tithe for any project or special call for an offering. Oh, they may give when disaster photos are shown of people dying in Haiti; but when the leaders of the church call for a building project, very few – percentage wise – give to such vision projects. The stats in the church where I’m an Elder are probably like they are in your church with as many as 25% of regular attendees not giving anything to the church – for anything, apparently not understanding God’s word on giving (see Malachi 3: 8-10, Prov. 3: 9-10, or 2nd Cor. 9: 6-7), or just feeling that that the church isn’t a high priority in their financial value system.
But what would happen if the people who call themselves “CHRISTIAN” would give as they did in Exodus, Chapters 35-38? ... Well, the church could take care of the welfare needs of the entire nation, let alone the needs of the church. There would be no more hunger on earth if God’s people gave God’s way. Hospitals would be built which could take ANYONE, at ANYTIME, for ANY NEED. And God’s churches, the places where He is worshipped, would be the most beautiful structures on earth. So, when that plate comes by you this Sunday, ask God if you’re giving the way HE would have you give … with a generous Spirit which reflects His Spirit which dwells in His temple – which, of course, is your body and His church. May we all give as God’s people gave in this segment of His book I have reviewed today.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, may my pocket book reflect a joyful and giving heart, knowing that the way I give to/for Your kingdom reflects how I honor You every day of my life. Amen