Check out Exodus 36:2-7. And take notes.
I was blown away by two things:
- The people were so committed that they gave more than enough.
- The workers were so committed they told them it was more than enough, and to stop giving.
I wrestled this morning with the point at which I would tell folks to stop giving to my ministry. Then I wrestled with the difference between the old covenant and the new in this regard. See, in the old covenant, it was a “come and see” issue. Folks from other nations came to see the favor God had bestowed on the Israelites. The tabernacle, and later the temple, were places where the nations looked on in amazement at the glory of the only living God, Yahweh.
That changed in the new covenant. Now the faith is a “go and tell” issue. The gospel is to be taken out, proclaimed among the nations. We are the temple. And we show the glory of God not by how lavishly we live, but by how we no longer need riches to define us. The nations see the glory of God in the face of Christ, who sacrificed his very life for his enemies. That sacrificial giving of time, resources, and our very life is our new model of glorifying God.
So how does that affect the “more than enough” issue? In the old covenant, once the tabernacle was finished, there was no longer a need for that specific type of giving. In the new covenant, we never finish showing off the true and living tabernacle, this side of eternity. Like giving to a war effort, you don’t stop making bullets until the war is over.
So I’ll never stop asking you to give to our ministry, until the war for the hearts and minds of students is over. But I’ll also never stop repenting of the lie that finances are the point. Jesus is the point. That’s what is so dangerous about prosperity theology. We make the mistake of old covenant thinking (look how big the house/car/Rolex is that Jesus blessed me with!) without the wisdom to see that we live in the war-time mentality of the new covenant. And nobody wears their Rolex to battle.
The hero of Exodus 36 is not the people who gave so much, or the workers who told them to stop, but the God who graciously revealed himself to hard-hearted people. The tabernacle made of fine linen had nothing on the God-man who came and “tabernacled” with his people.
What about you, are you living in the war-time mentality or do you, like me, often fall prey to the old covenant way of thinking? Comment below.