"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." Exodus 36:3 (NIV)
I couldn't stop the tears flowing like a stream down my face. Crying in church - I'm OK with that. But when you start that shaking-and-I-can't-stop bawling thing, well, that can be downright embarrassing.
Our pastor was preaching on - of all things - giving. Giving! Is that something to really get so emotional about? Though it has been a long, slow learning process for me, through the generosity of my husband, I've learned what it means to be a generous giver.
So why was I crying?
The Lord was pressing on my heart to give and give generously to someone who was hurting. Sitting there in church, it was as if the Lord allowed me to experience the pain they were feeling, the hurt they were going through in a very difficult time. That pain and weight was heavy in my chest as if it were my own.
But that's not all that was going on. God was speaking to me to give. See in our family, I leave it to God to speak with my husband on this issue. Greg, the generous one. Greg then shares with me where God is leading his heart, and we give.
It's not the other way around.
Except on this day.
Walking out of church, I was still visibly upset. Then fear set in. I started to feel nervous about telling Greg what I felt the Lord was nudging me to do. I had no reason to be anxious, yet I wanted to back out. I began trying to convince myself, It's just your emotions talking. Calm down. This nudging will go away.
But no; that's not what the Holy Spirit had in mind.
Before we reached home, I got up the nerve to talk to my man. And as I knew he would, he said yes.
This is where the bad news comes in.
For two months I wrestled with it, not taking the steps to give as I felt prompted. I had my excuses. It's complicated. I don't want to offend them. I let those uncomfortable feelings settle back in my heart again. I let them tell me what to do.
In Exodus 35, there was a need in the Israelite community, and God told the people: "From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering ?" (Exodus 35:5a, NIV).
Everyone who is willing. I got that part down. I am willing.
It's the next part that gave me the push I needed: "and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work - " (Exodus 35:21a, NIV).
They weren't just moved; they got moving.
I wonder if you've ever been like me, or maybe you're in that place now. You heard a stirring sermon, read a convicting verse, listened to a compelling story and you felt moved by God.
But. You. Haven't. Moved.
It's wonderful for us to feel God's presence, to sense His stirring, but that's not enough. We can't just be moved, we have to get moving. We have to follow through in obedience. That's where the blessings come in.
I love the way this account of giving in Exodus wraps up. I've yet to see anything like it in the church today. The skilled craftsmen doing the work of God went to their leader and essentially said, "Enough! We've got enough!"
"And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work"(Exodus 36:6b-7, NIV).
I finally moved forward in giving the way the Lord had directed me. I'm also learning that when it comes to obedience, it is important to not just obey, but obey immediately. Before my heart leads me in the wrong direction or my thoughts begin to analyze the situation. I'm not getting it perfect every time, but with the Holy Spirit's help, I am making progress.
Lord, we need Your help to move us when we are moved. Holy Spirit, give us faith, courage and bravery to go and do what You are stirring in our hearts, for we know that obedience to You will bring blessings from You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 9:6-7, "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (NIV)
1 Samuel 15:22, "But Samuel replied: 'Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.'" (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what area do you struggle most with obedience?
Pinpoint the root behind why you struggle, and pray for God to help you overcome in this particular area.
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