by Pastor Tim Burt
One of my great friends and weekly Bible Study partners wrote something about one of his studies and shared it with me. I thought it was powerful and asked if I could share it with my readers. He was happy to let me do that. He also added his own note at the end with no coercion on my part. Be blessed by this amazing perspective he shares with us!
An Opportunity Missed by John Hastings
In the book of Exodus, we read the account of the design and build of the Israelite tabernacle. It was to be a copy of the Lord’s heavenly tabernacle; it was to be magnificent; it was to be where God would manifest His presence and dwell among his people, Israel. In Exodus 25, God gives Moses the details of the design, including exact dimensions and list of materials needed: “gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats hair; rams skins, dyed red, badger, skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breast plate.” Exodus 25:3-7 (NKJV) God also appointed two highly skilled craftsmen, Bezalel and Aholiab to lead the project.
With all the plans in place, the time had come to begin construction of the tabernacle, and it was time to gather the materials needed. These materials needed for the building of the tabernacle were to be supplied by the people of Israel. “And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, ‘this is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying: take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the Lord.’” Exodus 35:4-9.
After repeating the list of the materials needed, Exodus 35:20 says, “and all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. Then everyone came, whose heart was stirred and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle.”
What was needed was communicated to the congregation, and the purpose of the offering was also communicated. But the offering was not taken at that very moment. The people were sent away to pray and search their hearts. Those whose hearts were stirred, and those whose spirits were willing, brought forth the Lord’s offering. What an amazing privilege this would have been. What an awesome opportunity to have a part in the building of God’s Holy Tabernacle!
Now watch this. Starting in verse two of Exodus 36, “then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, and everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work. And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him free will offerings every morning.”
Interesting, isn’t it? The whole of the people did not bring the entire offering at once. It was given over time. And that time may have given people the opportunity to procrastinate. Their hearts may have been stirred, and they may have been willing, but as they saw people go by every morning to bring their offering, their thoughts may have been something like, “Well I’ll give tomorrow. It looks like there are plenty giving today.”
Unfortunately, for those procrastinators, their opportunity never came. For as we read in Exodus, 36:4–7, “then all the craftsman who were doing all the work at the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses saying, ‘the people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.’ So Moses gave a commandment and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, ‘let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.‘ And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done.”
What a disappointment it must’ve been to those who had delayed in offering up that which had been put on their hearts! What an opportunity missed to share in this great work that the Lord was directing! God didn’t need their materials. He could have produced them out of thin air if he had desired. But he gave the people of Israel the resources, and then gave them the opportunity to contribute. And some of them missed out completely.
When God gives you the resources, and then stirs your heart to give, don’t delay. For God loves a cheerful and quick to do it giver! And there is great blessing on the other side of your obedience and generosity!
One last thought from John Hastings: Since the year 2000, my friend Pastor Tim Burt has been faithfully blessing us with his Fresh Manna Devotions three to four times a week. For 23 years he has never taken any income whatsoever. Tim also never uses this blog to petition for a financial offering. When offerings come in on their own, they are used almost in their entirety to meet needs on the mission field. He takes no salary and no income ever from any offering related to Fresh Manna. We all have an opportunity to act on the word shared above. I know Pastor Tim is planning a missions trip to Lima Peru next month and has a great desire to bring badly needed resources there. This is a third world country, and the people down there are in desperate need. Won’t you join me in sharing in the Lord’s work through this mission trip? Seek the Lord, and if willing and stirred, please don’t procrastinate! As Luke 6:38 (NLT) says, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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