“The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” Exodus 25:1-9
As you read the passage above, does it strike you as odd that God wanted these people, who not long before were cruelly oppressed slaves, to give precious and valuable materials to a building project? How could such people have such things to give? The answer is found in an often overlooked part of the Exodus miracle:
The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. YHWH had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians. Exodus 12:35-36
Not only did God get His people out of their slavery to the Egyptians, He saw to it that they were loaded with riches as they left!
Now why would God want His people to have so many precious things if He knew that they were going to be living in a wilderness as nomads for years? One reason, no doubt, is in the first passage quoted above: He intended for them to use their Egyptian plunder to build His tabernacle and fashion vessels for worshiping Him. He didn’t grant them Egyptian treasures to add to their burden as they traveled; He was preparing them for a community project that would glorify Him!
I see a very important parallel here for us, Disciple. Why does God provide so much to so many of Jesus’ disciples if we are not a part of this world anymore? If we are no longer slaves to this world’s ways and no longer citizens of the dominion of darkness, why should we possess so much worldly wealth? If we’re doing it right, the answer is similar in our case to the one in Israel’s case: He intends for us to give and share it for His glory. (And, no, this isn’t about building extravagant religious buildings as it was then!)
While our possessions can easily become a burden on us in our spiritual journey, we can wisely devote them to our Master’s use and purposes. Let us think carefully how we can best use our worldly wealth to advance the spread of the gospel, care for the needy, and show love to all. May we never fall into the trap of the Enemy so that we allow wealth to turn our eyes from their singular focus on our Master and His Kingdom. Wealth isn’t primarily for our enjoyment, Disciple. It is, like everything else, to be an offering of worship to our greatest joy and pleasure: God Himself!
Using earthly things for the King’s glory with you,