Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God’s people should be known for their willingness to financially support God’s work. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on our amounts and attitudes in giving, while urging others to do the same.
Read Exodus 35:20-29
I. Old Covenant Giving. In our Sunday School material, the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence. Everyone who was willing brought something as an offering to the Lord for the support of the work.
There is mention of jewelry, linen, precious metals (silver and bronze), acacia wood, and more. They gave freewill offerings for the work the Lord, through Moses, had commended them to do.
- Supporting God’s work. Notice in vss. 20-29 that there is a large group of people willing to give to the Lord. In this case, the money was ear marked for the Tabernacle and priestly garments.
First, the people were willing to give for this special project. When we think about how good the Lord has been to us, we should all be willing to give to whatever furthers God’s will being done.
Second, people gave according to their ability. Those with garments gave garments. Those who had silver and bronze gave silver and bronze.
In like manner, we are called to give according to our abilities. Almost all of us can give some money, in accord with our incomes. But the plumber can give some plumbing services. The lawyer can give some legal services.
Third, we should note that giving for this special project is different than giving on an ongoing basis. The special project was based on willingness. The ongoing expenses of God’s Tabernacle and then Temple called for people to pay their tithes and give their offerings. In like manner, we cannot really give God anything, until we first pay Him what we owe (i.e., our tithes).
Fourth, those in the text gave for the Tabernacle and garments for the priests. In like manner, there are projects that require finances today. Think about building repairs, ministry projects for our young people and seniors, and discipleship enrichment projects. Let’s work on being willing to give to support God’s programming.
- God and the Pastor’s roles. Notice in vs. 29 that the people brought their offerings to the Lord for all the work the Lord, through Moses, had commanded them to do.
First, notice that they gave to the Lord. This is different than giving to the preacher or just the church club. What we give and how we give says a great deal about what we think about the Lord.
Second, notice they understood that God worked through Moses, their leader. There are too many who want to treat the Pastor as a preaching employee as opposed to the one through whom God sends congregational directions. Let’s work on living like we understand how God and the Pastor fit into our giving.
Read II Corinthians 9:6-8
II. New Covenant Giving. Paul talks about how sowers reap in line with how much they sow. In our Sunday School material, he reminds his readers that each person should give what they have decided to give. God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to bless the giver.
- Putting God’s word in our memory. Notice in vs. 6 that the people are called to remember a biblical principle. In order to remember, they had to have it in their memory.
Prayerfully studying the Bible is a great way to put God’s word in our memory, so we can have something to remember. Let’s work on prayerfully studying and striving to live by God’s word with the support of others.
- Trusting God’s promises. Notice in vss. 6, 8 that to a great degree what is sown or given determines what is reaped or received. The greatest reason for a believer to give is to express their love for God.
It is also true that we are at risk of divine punishment or at least a lack of divine blessings, when we don’t obey God in the area of giving. But this text highlights that God will bless us with more than we give to God.
The fruit from the seeds is greater than the seeds. The more we sow and give, the more God sees to it that we reap and receive. Let’s give like we trust God to keep His word. It is so contradictory to study this lesson and still spend more on what we wear to church than what we give to God in His church.
- Deciding to give cheerfully. Notice in vs. 7 that believers are to give what they have decided to give in their hearts. They should not give reluctantly or under compulsion. God loves a cheerful giver.
First, we should all decide to cheerfully pay our tithes and give our offerings for the support of God’s church and work. We should not give with reluctant or forced spirits.
Second, God’s loving a cheerful giver doesn’t mean that He will not accept the giving of those who give with the wrong spirit. We should cheerful refrain from killing others. But God will accept our reluctant refraining from killing others.
Third, especially with leaders in the church, if they are not willing to give their tithes and offerings, as the members are asked to do, they should not be in office. It is disgraceful to have church leaders who are stingy with God. Let’s decided to give cheerfully and proportionately to God.
Conclusion: Let’s work on our amounts and attitudes in giving, while urging others to do the same. God has much for those who obey His will.
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