In Exodus 36, when the Tabernacle was being built, it records that the Israelites brought freewill offerings ‘morning after morning’. The result was that the skilled workmen who were creating the Tabernacle left their work to come to Moses and ask him to tell the people to stop giving as there was more than enough! And it says that Moses did so and ‘the people were restrained from bringing more’ (Ex 36:3-6). This is a leadership challenge I have yet to face – but would love to have to deal with! In the past I have restrained one generous lady from giving £25,000 to one of the King’s projects – knowing her circumstances I thought this was a right thing to do. She gave £5,000 instead.
The next example is in King David’s time. He raised money to honour God but it was his son, Solomon, who actually did the building. David raised the money before it was actually needed. In 1 Chronicles 29 it says,
‘Then the leaders of families and the officers of the tribe of Israel, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. They gave towards the work of the temple of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents of iron.’It’s a great passage! Afterwards David stands and gives a great prayer of thanksgiving – if you read it you will notice that it has great similarities to what we call the Lord’s Prayer and is the Old Testament foundation for it – in effect, the Lord’s Prayer is founded on generous, willing giving!