No one is to appear before Me empty-handed.
~Exodus 34:20, CSB
We make a living by what we earn: we make a life by what we give.
~Sir Winston Churchill
If you have read the bible through, you have probably discovered the verse above and it is repeated three times: Exodus 23:15, 34:20 and Deuteronomy 16:16. The NLT makes it very clear...No one is to appear before Me without and offering. In the sacrificial system, you have to have an offering to worship. An offering was basically a confession of sin. Those who came empty handed were basically saying, “I’m good. I have no sins to be dealt with.” The system had nothing to do with wealth. It was not about the amount of your offering. No one was excluded for financial reasons. The laws of Moses made allowances for the poor. People who could not afford a lamb [and there were many] could bring doves or pigeons. This required some effort but no money. It is amazing what people pay to see a football game or what they spend on a vacation but take an offering in church and you have complaints. I long for the day that the congregation breaks out into applause when they see the offering plates coming. Giving is never a financial problem; it is always a heart problem.
In Exodus 35 record Moses raising money and resources for the Tent of Meetings: note what the scripture says about the Israelites and their giving…
- Exodus 35:21–Everyone whose heart was moved and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting.
- Exodus 35:22–Both men and women came; all who had willing hearts brought brooches, earrings, rings, necklaces, and all kinds of gold jewelry—everyone who presented a presentation offering of gold to the Lord.
- Exodus 35:29–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.
Giving has always been a matter of the heart. I guarantee you, if you have the heart to give, God will make away for you to give. Unfortunately, there are people like my grandmother who get bent out of shape anytime a preacher mentions giving. She scolded me more than once for mentioning giving in the pulpit. She accused me of begging for money. By the grace of God, there is not a living soul in the world who can accuse me of begging them for money. Have I ever begged any of you for money? Jesus said more about giving than He did heaven or hell and when I come to stewardship verses in the bible, I am going to preach them with no apology to relatives or anyone else. Your problem is not money: it is your incredible lack of faith and your selfishness. You do not have a heart to give. People who have a heart to give get excited about the opportunity to give. Our LOTTIE MOON CHRISTMAS OFFERING is this Sunday and I am excited. Giving makes us participants in worship. Those who refuse to give become spectators.
I hope I don’t get any late phone calls tonight. I also hope that I get time to read and study tomorrow. Did my home-bound visitation yesterday. Everyone was doing about the same except Neil Brown. They would not tell me at the Nursing Home but I think she is in the hospital. Roger Burcham was having a good day. It was almost dark by the time I got to Mrs. Jewels but I got to visit with her a few minutes before she retired for the evening. No funerals today, I hope. Only one ball game. Josie Tate plays at 4:00. Everyone else is through for 2018 and will not play again until next year. I don’t think Landon will get to play at all. He has a broken vertebrae in his lower back. BAILEY CHRISTMAS in Athens tonight.