* Giving should come from a generous heart
God did not require these special offerings, but he appealed to people with generous hearts. Only those who were willing to give were invited to participate. God loves people who give cheerfully. Our giving should be from love and generosity, not from a guilty conscience. (NLT)
Exodus 35:5-21 – Everyone is invited to bring these offerings to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen; goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; onyx stones, and other stones to be set in the ephod and the chestpiece.
“Come, all of you who are gifted craftsmen. Construct everything that the Lord has commanded: the entire Tabernacle, including the sacred tent and its coverings, the clasps, frames, crossbars, posts, and bases; the Ark and its poles; the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement; the inner curtain to enclose the Ark in the Most Holy Place; the table, its carrying poles, and all of its utensils; the Bread of the Presence; the lampstand and its accessories; the lamp cups and the oil for lighting; the incense altar and its carrying poles; the anointing oil and fragrant incense; the curtain for the entrance of the Tabernacle; the altar of burnt offering; the bronze grating of the altar and its carrying poles and utensils; the large washbasin with its pedestal; the curtains for the walls of the courtyard; the posts and their bases; the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; the tent pegs of the Tabernacle and courtyard and their cords; the beautifully stitched clothing for the priests to wear while ministering in the Holy Place; the sacred garments for Aaron and his sons to wear while officiating as priests.”
So all the people left Moses and went to their tents to prepare their gifts. If their hearts were stirred and they desired to do so, they brought to the Lord their offerings of materials for the Tabernacle and its furnishings and for the holy garments.
* – Jesus gave the disciples a principle to guide their actions as they ministered to others: “Give as freely as you have received.” Because God has showered us with his blessings, we should give generously to others of our time, love, and possessions. (NLT)
Matthew 10:8 – [Jesus said] “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!”
* God’s laws reflect his generous character
This law was a protection for the poor and the foreigner and a reminder that God owned the land; the people were only caretakers. Laws such as this showed God’s generosity and liberality. As people of God, the Israelites were to reflect his nature and characteristics in their attitudes and actions. Ruth and Naomi were two people who benefited from this merciful law.
* Show some generosity to the needy
God instructed the Hebrews to provide for those in need. He required that the people leave the edges of their fields unharvested, providing food for travelers and the poor. It is easy to ignore the poor or forget about those who have less than we do. But God desires generosity. In what ways can you leave the “edges of your fields” for those in need? (NLT)
Leviticus 19:9-10 – “When you harvest your crops, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop–do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners who live among you, for I, the Lord, am your God.
* Generosity seen in nature
This harvest psalm glorifies God the Creator as reflected in the beauty of nature. Nature helps us understand something of God’s character. The Jews believed that God’s care of nature was a sign of his love and provision for them. Nature shows God’s generosity–giving us more than we need or deserve. God’s abundant generosity should make us grateful to him and generous to others. (NLT)
Psalms 65:6-13 – You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.
You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The rivers of God will not run dry; they provide a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The wilderness becomes a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!
* Balance between generosity and stewardship
These versus are not a plea against generosity, but against overextending one’s financial resources and acting in irresponsible ways that could lead to poverty. It is important to maintain a balance between generosity and good stewardship. God wants us to help our friends and the needy, but he does not promise to cover the costs of every unwise commitment we make. We should also act responsibly so that our family does not suffer. (NLT)
Proverbs 6:1-5 – My child, if you co-sign a loan for a friend or guarantee the debt of someone you hardly know–if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said–quick, get out of it if you possibly can! You have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don’t put it off. Do it now! Don’t rest until you do. Save yourself like a deer escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.
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