What if your Pastor came to the pulpit, and announced the following? –
“Today, God has told me that we should build a building for worship. It should be built with the finest of materials. Bring your gold, jewels, boats, RV’s, golf clubs, televisions, computers, cell phones, and cash to church this evening…we will be using them to finance the process”.
Why is it that we would most likely think he has “fallen off his rocker”?! How many of us would actually show up to church that night? What is it about being asked to give that makes us feel offended? Why is it that we hold onto our selfish “riches” so much as to ignore the calling of God?
It is because of several things: greed, selfishness, unwillingness to serve, and disobedience. Our excuses supersede our willingness to reach others. Our hearts aren’t stirred to action.
When we are young, we say that we don’t know enough to serve. When we are old, we say that we’ve “done our time”. We stay too busy with worldly commitments to devote time to ministry. We don’t like the “way it’s being done”. We don’t like the person in charge. We say we aren’t equipped or talented enough to serve. We say we don’t have the abilities to serve. We complain about “it” or “them” being too meticulous, too cumbersome, too early, too late, too loud, too many, too few, too much trouble, too much time, etc., etc., etc. What it all boils down to is that we are selfish, and lazy, and unwilling……..just plain disobedient!
We are so caught up in our “things”, that we forget it was God who actually provided them…and…..(here comes the “shocking” news!)….the “things” we have, which includes our time, are not for us……they are for God!!
In Exodus 35 & 36, we see the Israelites being told of God’s plans for the building of the tabernacle. Once given the elaborate instructions, the people responded in abundance.
“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing…” 35:21
“They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart…” 35:22
“And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom…” 35:26
“…all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.” 35:29
“…everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.” 36:2
“The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.” 36:5
They responded with so much materials and items for the building of the tabernacle that it says they had to be restrained from bringing any more.
Our Americanism has made it so easy to be selfish. We constantly think that we have a right to refuse the calling of God to our church and community because our “things” are OUR “things”. We feel we have worked hard, and sacrificed much to obtain the status quo. We believe that we have the power to decide what we should do, and what we shouldn’t….all the time forgetting about the commandment and calling of the Lord.
When there is a need for help, for time, for talents, for money so great in our church families, we tend to justify our needs (which are most times “wants”) above the greater cause.
For example, at our church, there have been repeated requests for additional help in the area of children’s and youth ministries. God is blessing both of these areas, and the call has been made for more help, however, week after week, the problem remains.
It is not hard to serve the Lord. It is a joy and such a blessing to be a part of the growth and activities He sets forth. I see many able people who are not serving. Their time, their talents, their possessions, their money is all being wasted on worldly pleasures, rather than the furtherance of God’s kingdom.
What would happen if, after the call was made, our hearts were “stirred” like the Israelites in these passages? What would happen if we were all as “willing” as the Israelites in this passage?
I tell you what would happen…..
“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 – indeed too much.” Exodus 36:6-7
“Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished.” Exodus 39:32
“Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the Lord has commanded…and Moses blessed them.” Exodus 39:43
The work of God would be completed. We would have enough workers to not only supervise the children/youth, but also teach them properly, mentor them one-on-one, follow up for evangelism to their families, provide for their physical needs, etc. We would be fulfilling the role of Christian brothers and sisters who hear God’s voice and are willing to answer the call.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3
With your heart stirred, and your spirit willing, God’s work will NOT be burdensome! You will be joyous, and see fruit from your labor.
What are you doing to serve the Lord in your local church? Are you willing to give up an extra hour a week to supervise children before or after church? Are you willing to ride/drive on the church van? Would you be willing to greet people at the doors of the church, helping visitors to find their proper classes? How about helping in the kitchen on Wednesday night? –Visiting? –Cleaning?–Mowing the church lawn? –Taking time to find out about the needs of others?–Talking with your Pastor about serving in the greatest area of need?
Is your heart stirred to action? How long will it take for all of us to just “get it”? God is willing to stir our hearts today. May He remind us daily of our call and the need to become active in the body of Christ.