Building the Tabernacle (Exodus 36)

Lessons from Exodus 36

Building the Tabernacle (Exodus 36)

Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful person in whom the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him, to come to the work to perform it. They received from Moses all the contributions which the sons of Israel had brought to perform the work in the construction of the sanctuary. And they still continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. And all the skillful men who were performing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work which he was performing, and they said to Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for the construction work which the Lord commanded us to perform.” So Moses issued a command, and a proclamation was circulated throughout the camp, saying, “Let no man or woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary.” Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more. For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it.

As much mistakes our parents’ generation of immigrant Christians made in our churches, one thing they did well was in doing the literal acts of Christian life. They faithfully practiced Christian Discipline in areas such as praying, cooking/eating, and tithing. I want to focus a minute here on the tithing part. From the perspective of a second generation Korean-American Christian, we really stink at Christian discipline, particularly in comparison to our parents’ generation. None is more evident than our lack of offering. There is an apparent movement in the Korean-American churches in our area where congregations no longer tithe as faithfully as they used to in the past. While there are probably many reasons for this, I believe one variable is the growing number of young (aged 25-45) working professionals, parents, and recent college grads (or “singles”). The sheer quantity of our generation in our failure to obey God’s command to give is making a significant impact in the budgets of our churches. This is a new and uncomfortable territory for me. I’ve never in the 10 years of ministry in NoVA ever had to address this issue (mainly b/c it was youth ministry). But here I am now. We’ve got to tackle this issue with our eyes on Christ and our Bibles open.

The younger generations love to internalize and spiritualize everything, especially the Christian life. It’s all about you and Jesus on the inside, we’ll say. You can’t earn God’s love by your actions (totally true), therefore your actions really don’t matter (totally not true). James 2:14 probably stands as a big slap in the face of NoVA Christian smugness. James, on this issue, basically says you can’t really be saved if your actions don’t back it up. Or another way, a Christian naturally acts, talks, loves, and sacrificially gives like a Christian (… or more like Christ, but I digress)! It’s a tragedy to think that we can be “good” Christians and skip over things like faithfully tithing/offering our income which God gives us. But 10% is too much, we’d think. It is too much, one pastor once said, until you look at the fact that the other 90% was given to you as an undeserved gift! Meaning, the whole total of our income is a gift from God. God commands us to give him the 10% to remind us that He is our provider, and without Him we cannot live (see Deut 8:11-20). Now, the physical provision is to show us about God’s spiritual provision. Yes, this is true. However, we cannot continue in our arrogant ignorance of the fact that God does provide for our physical needs and as such, commands us to respond in tithing.

Assuredly, if we would continue to fail in our offerings/tithings, our spiritual response to God’s commands will inevitably falter. If we fail to obey God in His commands about money, it’s easy to justify disobedience in other aspects of our so-called Christian lives. The Christian life cannot be divided, as much as we’ll try, between the physical and spiritual; the profane (non-religious) and the sacred (religious). They’re all interconnected, and God demands all of it. For when He purchased with Christ’s blood us and all the other members of the Church, He bought us whole, not parts. We dare not try to erect these dividers which God knocks down.

Let’s be giving & faithful Christians.

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