“Stop giving! I mean it. I’ll have to put a restraining order on you. We have more than we need for the Lord’s work.” Said no pastor ever.
Nestled in this obtuse section of Exodus in chapters 35-36, Moses makes such an edict. The laborers were diligently working on the Tabernacle. They began to notice the same people, a lot of people, coming every morning with more offerings to give to the work. It became too much! Their willing offering was too much of a good thing! The craftsmen seek out Moses and tell him the good news, “The people are giving! Now tell them to stop!”
What motivated the people so? There is one word that springs from these chapters fourteen times—”heart.” There are three heart conditions which drove the people’s giving to a rarely seen devotion.
First, a willing heart (35:5, 22, 29). This work was an open invitation from God. There was not a directive or a mandate, but rather a request for all those willing to contribute to God’s work. God is a gentleman. Whosoever will let him come (Revelation 22:17). Behold I stand at the door and knock (Revelation 3:20). He is not splintering your door down and strongarming you into service. It’s an open invitation. Are you willing?
The second heart condition is the stirred heart (35:21, 26; 36:2). The work is great and noble. It’s a privilege to serve the God of all the earth. Today, the love of Christ constrains us to serve Him faithfully. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). As soon as the people heard of the work, they responded to the invitation and their hearts were stirred. The word “stir” has the idea of lifting one up to a new purpose which defines an action.
The third heart condition is the wise heart (35:10, 25, 34-35; 36:1-2). You may object, “But I don’t know of anything I could do for God!” God will provide the wisdom to the willing heart. He showed them what they could do. Some only gave. Some with wise hearts spun or assisted the artisans. A few were given divine skill.
Most people come to God on their terms. “I’ll do what I know,” they say. If you only do what you know, it will lake the stirring of God. Others say, “I’ll go when my heart is stirred.” The stirring comes to those who are first willing.