must be from the heart.

Exodus 25:1-9 (ESV)

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats' hair, tanned rams' skins, goatskins, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.

The Israelites have all these things to offer, because they got them from the Egyptians.

And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. – Exodus 12:36 (ESV)

Since the LORD had effectively delivered this bounty to them, it’s fair for Him to expect them to be generous with it. Nevertheless, God is very clear that any contribution must be voluntary. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me.

Each contribution must be from the heart. This is one of the key principles undergirding all service to God. If giving isn’t voluntary, it isn’t giving at all. It’s a tax.

Giving is all about the heart. God doesn’t need our money, or anything else. If we choose to give something to the LORD (time, money, resources, effort, worship) it’s important, but not because He couldn’t have gotten along without it.

It’s how faith puts its boots on.

Christianity today has a problem with people not giving. The problem isn’t laziness or lack of instruction; it’s weak faith. Strong faith energizes people and makes them interested in getting things done.

But how do you cure weak faith? You can’t just choose to have more faith. What you believe, and how strongly you believe it, is determined by things and events outside of your control.

Or is it? Maybe we can do things that affect our faith. Is there something I can do to stimulate more faith?

Yes. Just start giving. Get involved in kingdom service and your faith will get a boost. God will respond. Things will happen that cannot be explained by simple luck.

Nothing strengthens faith more than living a supernatural life. Throw yourself into serving the kingdom and the twists and turns will knock your socks off. There may be trials. There surely will be challenges.

But when you start serving the Lord with abandon, everything comes alive.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.