Would you live any differently?…(Ex. 36:1-7 & 25:1-9)

Yesterday we gathered around the table. It was the first time of the season gathering at 9AM (instead of 10) — praise God for bringing us who could make it to the table :)! We opened in prayer. And then we started checking in.

Technically the homework had remained the same for two weeks, thinking on the scripture(s), people, and life experiences which had been most formative in shaping our understanding of finances. Now while folks had been a bit excited about sharing last week, this week we had a slow beginning — but then the stories of one and others invited the rest to share. Stories of growing up on a farm, or with many siblings. Stories of growing up not really with enough & knowing there was a struggle to make it. Stories of always having enough too. Folks who never learned or were taught to tithe. Folks who married others who either did or did not tithe — and a variety of new outcomes with those partnerships — one with a spouse essentially saying, “we have more than enough — we’re giving!” — one with a spouse introducing the concept and need of tithing and both growing in faith when it didn’t make sense but God provided anyway — and one with one spouse tithing on their money while managing but not tithing their mates money. We talked about generosity in other ways — opening the home, feeding folks, clothing folks — investing in people (and sometimes being taken advantage of) — and also engaging in wisdom & discernment, with one naming that while scripture tells us to give to any who ask (yes — check it out HERE) that if they ask for a coat & they have one & you have only one…well, you might not give then — that we give, but it’s complicated (?). A note that it DOES get/feel complicated at times, and I imagine that it’s complicated for different reasons for us all. This is where I think God works to refine us and invites us to grow more and more Christlike — thought the power of the Holy Spirit. But don’t we also know that growth often has growth pains? So we learn (grace!) along the way and with God we grow in discernment as well.

And there was SO much more great conversation, like feeling convinced to tithe, convinced not to tithe, convinced & living how God blesses our obedience, and also a reflection in death how when settling accounts people have the opportunity to walk in integrity or not & the power of someone when being told what they owed — sharing no, they owed more & paying that happily! Finances are definitely one way that we can witness who God is (the provider of all, worthy to be trusted) and how we walk out our faith. (And when we don’t that says something too…)

BUT — just like as we gathered yesterday — I’ll move us to the scripture we heard briefly yesterday, first (a bit as background) Exodus 25:1-9 & then Exodus 36:1-7:


Exodus 25:1-9 New International Version (NIV)


Offerings for the Tabernacle


25 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather[a]; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

25 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather[a]; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.

“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

And…


Exodus 36:1-7 New International Version (NIV)


36 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”


Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”
Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more,because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

Now we did not take time to hear where the Holy Spirit had directed people’s attention. But I did take a moment, as this passage is formative for me — to name how AMAZING it is that there was MORE THAN ENOUGH to do all that God asked & that people were turned away from giving. God through the giving of the people provided for everything. God also provided the skilled labor needed to do ALL the work. And for me — I don’t want to miss out on giving to God — I don’t want to be told no when I want to give to God!

So the homework for the week…and yes it is a bit involved:

  • Re-Read Ex. 25:1-9 & 36:1-7 (if you like read the parts in between too — but re-read these passages.
  • Think about what God has/is calling you to do/make/be.
  • Consider that you have MORE THAN ENOUGH resources to do exactly what God is inviting/instructing/calling you to do/make/be.
    • And answer this: Would you live any differently than you are now? Would you think any differently than you are right now? (if you did have more than enough resources)
      • Now…if the answer is NO: I wonder, are you being honest? And if you are — then your question is — do you feel excited and joy-filled to be serving God in your purpose?
      • And if the answer is YES: what are you waiting for?

This is the homework y’all….I’m looking forward to hearing what God reveals in the week and to when we will gather around the table next!

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater

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