A Generous Heart

by Nate Powell

Last week, I had to tackle a bit of a difficult topic from the pulpit. No leader really likes to talk about giving, but the Matthew 6:19-24 text demanded it. Jesus preached directly to the correlation of treasure and heart location. Where we put our money is where our heart lies and what we delight in.

It was with that in mind that my daily reading landed in Exodus 35:4-29. It could be seemingly an insignificant text, describing the gifts of materials toward the construction of the Tabernacle, for the post-Sinai Israelites. Moses has received the commandments and the prescribed instructions on how Yahweh is to be worshiped. Moses states to the people what God has commanded for the provision of this tabernacle construction in Exodus 35:5 (CSB): “Take up an offering from among you for the LORD. Let everyone whose heart is willing bring this as the Lord’s offering…” In light of what I had just preached and studied, this passage took on a whole new light as I examined not simply what the people gave, but how they gave it. Look the passage up and note how the people gave:

  • Everyone whose heart was moved and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work …” (v 21)
  • “Both men and women came; all who had willing hearts brought …” (v 22)
  • All the women whose hearts were moved …” (v 26)
  • “So the Israelites brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts prompted them to bring something for all the work that the Lord, through Moses, had commanded to be done.” (v 29)
The passage speaks strongly of people whose hearts were moved. This offering was an offering to the worship of the Lord and his work. This giving was their act of worship, and was clearly the movement of God’s spirit upon people who’s hearts had been softened toward generosity.
In light of teaching about giving, it should be said: If you feel in any way coerced to give by a human being, please don’t give. If you are new here and don’t really understand why we give, please don’t give. If you give for other motives besides that of a softened heart toward God, please don’t give. Much of people’s misunderstandings and misgivings in the church today regarding giving come from the fact that giving has been used and abused for worldly gain. But this is not what we are called as a church to do, and we as leaders are accountable to our members for this.
Giving flows from grateful hearts. Let your giving be joyful and let it be given with secrecy and sincerity toward God. Disciples of Jesus should be mindful for opportunities to share with their God and the needs of their neighbor. Let’s be open and willing to do his will this week.