Summary: God asks me to invest into His kingdom purposes with my time, talents and treasure. In this way I am committed because it costs me something. The things I put my time and talents and money towards are the things that have a priority in my life.
Exodus 25 - It Will Cost You Something to Serve God!
When I first came into ministry many years ago now, Julie and I realized that the only way we could train in the Bible College was to sell everything we owned except our car and our children (actually our children already belonged to God, so they didn’t come into the equation). There was no Government assistance for study in those times and so we needed to sell our house in order to live for 2 years as I trained full-time in Theological College. I can remember that we were excited about doing this. We still didn’t have enough to live on for all of this time, but God provided more than enough for us. Although it was a sacrifice, it was also an honour to be serving God in this way.
Exodus 25 is where Moses is given instructions for building the Sanctuary where God chooses to reveal Himself to His people. It is to be financed from the freewill offerings of the people of Israel. Moses is to make the Ark of the Covenant, a box made of acacia wood overlaid with gold with a seat called the mercy seat on top and 2 golden angels looking down at the mercy seat from either end of the box. This golden box was to contain the covenant that God is going to give to Moses. If you’ve seen the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" you’ll have an idea of what this fascinating structure looked like. Moses is told to make a table of showbread and a golden lampstand.
Now what is all this about? Why does God want to reveal Himself in this way? Why go to so much trouble? One thing is certain - the people are going to invest their money and time into this structure where God chooses to make Himself known. That’s true for me too. God asks me to invest into His kingdom purposes with my time, talents and treasure. In this way I am committed because it costs me something. I know that the things I put my time and talents and money towards are the things that have a priority in my life. When I realize that they belong to God and He wants me to use them in my service to Him, then my priorities begin to change.
Where did all this gold come from? Remember the Israelites came from slavery in Egypt. I can’t help thinking that it was the gold they were given by the Egyptians just before they left. Back in Chapter 12, the Egyptians were more than happy to see Israel leave.
And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. The Lord caused the Egyptians to look favourably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth! - Exodus 12:35-36 (NLT)
Some people would say - "It’s like using gambling money to build a Church!" The wealth of Egypt was used to build the tabernacle. The same gold that belonged to people who worshiped pagan idols was used to build the ark of the covenant! It’s not the gold that is evil. Money shows what is in my heart. It’s the love of money that is the root of all evil. When it’s in my hands and my heart is to use it for God then it has a redemptive purpose