Read Exodus 25 and I Corinthians 3
“And every person whose heart moves him, you shall receive a contribution for me. And this is the contribution you shall receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarns and fine twisted linen; goats’ hair, tanned ram skins, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and the breastpiece. And let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell in their midst.” Exodus 25: 2-8
There are so many good lessons to draw from this passage of Scripture. A few of them are:
- 1. The Lord loves a willing giver—they are the only givers from whom He will receive a contribution
- 2. The Lord desires a wide variety of contributions
- 3. And those contributions include both the very beautiful, and the very mundane and practical
- 4. All these contributions are to make a place where the Lord will dwell in the midst.
My wife and I live at Story Book Lodge Christian Camp. This is a place where every willing Believer has something they can profitably contribute. It is the best of all possible places for a serious Christian teenager (or adult) to come, for a large variety tasks are necessary. At a Bible camp, a young person can find use for his gift in preaching, or teaching, or discipling. Or he can use his talents to sing, or put on clever skits or funny performances. Or, he can contribute his willing hard work. All of our youth workers are required to do the plain hard work of washing dishes, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, mopping, etc, etc. But each year we have one or two young people who blossom as hard workers.
One summer a mother sent her big adolescent son to Story Book who was so odd and such a loner. He was 15 years old and he was still acting out cartoon fantasy stories. We had an old man at our camp who had done all the rock work at the camp for every building project. This summer he insisted he was going to continue to do this, though the project was the biggest he had ever undertaken. He saw this big kid and decided he had to have him for his assistant. And this big kid, who, I don’t believe had ever before lifted anything bigger than a video game control in his life, spent the whole summer lifting and selecting and placing 20 to 80 pound field stones for our elderly rock layer. I saw him last fall and he said to me, “That was the best summer of my life.” Story Book is a beautiful camp. A good part of its beauty is all our rock work, much of which was done by this young man.
In I Cor 3:12 our good works are compared to gold, silver and precious stones. I believe in this passage the Apostle Paul is making allusion to our passage in Exodus. The good work of this young man is of lasting value, particularly because it was done with such willingness.
At our little church fellowship, we have a Quakeresque communion service every Sunday morning. At the service different men spontaneously share from the Scriptures precious truths about our Lord Jesus Christ. The meeting is meant to be Spirit led. The sharings vary greatly, just as the men who share vary greatly. Some are deeply theological. Some share an incident of something that has happened to them over the past week and they relate this incident to what the Lord Jesus did at the cross. Some simply read a read passage of Scripture and share a one or two sentence thought.
Intermixed with the sharings are songs and prayers. The meeting is a beautiful mix of gold and precious stones and common items. It is similar to the sanctuary at the tabernacle, the place for the Lord Himself to dwell in the midst.
Several years ago, we had a gentleman at our church fellowship determined to get every man who attended the communion meeting to share at the meeting. This resulted in men who to this day will not share at the meeting. Like those who gave to the tabernacle sanctuary, a necessary component for giving is the willingness to give.