Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the Lord has commanded. Take from among you a contribution to the Lord. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord‘s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze; blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen; goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, and goatskins; acacia wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, and onyx stones and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece.
And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more. Exodus 35:4-9, 36:2-7 ESV
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.” II Corinthians 9:7-9 ESV
George Bailey was a very good man. He was always helpful and generous, and always put the needs of other people ahead of his own. Almost everyone in his town loved and respected him. But one Christmas George needed some money very badly. When his friends found out, they all helped him and gave him what they could. He ended up with much more money than he needed. People were generous with him because of the love and generosity he had always showed them.
God’s people Israel were invited to bring gifts so that the tabernacle for God could be built. They weren’t required to bring anything; they were just to give if they wanted to. But they remembered all the love and care God had shown them since he had brought them safely out of Egypt, and God’s love and generosity toward them made them feel loving and generous toward God. Like George Bailey’s friends, they brought much more than was needed for the tabernacle. Moses had to tell them to stop bringing their gifts!
God has also been incredibly loving and generous to us. Every day we have new blessings of love and care from him. His greatest blessing was to send Jesus to be our Savior. Because of Jesus we know that we are God’s people forever and that he will always help and bless us. God’s love helps us love him back, and to want to be generous with our gifts. The Holy Spirit gives us cheerful hearts that make us happy to give to God and to other people for Jesus’ sake.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for everything you’ve given us. Please give us generous and cheerful hearts in response. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Capra, Frank, dir. It’s a Wonderful Life RKO Radio Pictures, 1946. Film.