Offerings for the Tabernacle

Peggy Byland

READ : Exodus 35:4–29

And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution. (v. 21)

A community of people built the tabernacle, the house of God. All the people whose spirits moved them contributed, not just the leaders or a select few. In mass they brought freewill offerings of jewelry and precious metals. In large quantities they donated resources for spinning cloth, and tanned skins and fine leather. The leaders brought spices and oil for anointing and making incense, as well as gems for the high priest’s vestments. Finally the artisans told Moses enough was enough. No more was needed. Together the skilled workers—the artisans, the designers, contractors, and laborers—constructed the tabernacle as God had instructed Moses on Mt. Sinai, each using his/her own skills. Everyone who was willing contributed.

What a contrast with many of our building projects today. Our churches, once structures of majesty and glory, sometimes fall into disrepair, and there are no funds to cover the costs of repair or maintenance. Some people cry out, compelling others to feel shame for neglecting the houses of God. Others remind us that God does not dwell in a place, but in the hearts of God’s people, in the goodwill of God’s ambassadors, in the actions of Jesus’ disciples.

Just as the Israelites longed for a new home, they believed God needed a place to call home. So the community of Israel busily built a portable home for God.

PRAYER

Stir our hearts, Father, to service for you. Use us. Amen.