Getting a Heart for Giving

Getting the Spiritual Blessing by Giving

Exodus 35,36

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

DATE: 16 Nov, 2008 AM

PLACE: Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.        Introduction


A.      Giving is A Biblical Command


1.       Old Testament (Exodus 25:2)

2.       New Testament (Acts 20:35)


B.      Giving is A Hard Command


1.       We are TAKERS by nature - We are covetous and greedy

2.       We are never satisfied – give us some money and we always want more

3.       Giving good things away does not happen easily among humans!


C.      Giving is A “Freeing” Command


1.       We are enslaved by selfishness that cannot be broken until we surrender control of our possessions over to God


a.       Surrender our time, our wallets and purses, our bodies, our hearts

b.       He owes everything anyway, including us!


2.       Some of you are in serious debt – credit card spending, loans, etc

3.       The right way to get out of debt is to put GOD first in your finances – that is the MAIN step. Any other way is just another trip down!

4.       “Giving” is God’s way out of debt – it frees you from having to buy, buy, buy, spend, spend, spend

5.       It transforms you into a being blessing to people, instead of a burden


D.      Giving Comes from God


1.       He is the original giver! He gives and gives and gives – there has never been a time where He hasn’t given!

2.       He is only abused and taken advantage of by this world: gives us life, and health, and rain, and crops, and success, and families, and jobs, and Jesus, and forgiveness, and eternal life, and heaven, and sanity, and joy

3.       Yet, He is rarely appreciated or thanked

4.       He never accepts payment for His gifts – or else they would not be gifts!

5.       He does however, call us to put Him first – to honour HIM before we honour our bills, our desires and lusts, and before we honour ourselves


E.       This message will be a challenge to everyone in this room this morning. A challenge to become more blessed by giving than by receiving. I will be presenting several truths about giving as we approach Christmas

F.       But it will never happen until you get a heart to give. A love for giving. A passion for proving your love for God


II.      Background to Exodus 35 and 36


A.      The entire nation of Israel (1 ½ million people) had been freed from slavery under the Egyptian Pharaohs

B.      All by the shed blood of an innocent lamb in every home

C.      Now they were free, headed to a place called “the Promised Land”

D.      They had collected their meagre belongings when they left, but were showered with gifts and possessions of the Egyptians who were very glad to finally let them go after those terrible ten disasters, called the ten plagues

E.       They were given rings, bracelets, ear rings, necklaces, clothes, shoes, gems

F.       Well, the church in the wilderness, as it was called…


1.       Had a pastor, Moses

2.       Had the word of God – from Mt Sinai

3.       Had each other for fellowship

4.       But they had no temple or tabernacle

5.       So, it was time to build something special, something that would honour God, and reflect His presence among His people (Exodus 25:8)


G.      So, it was time to take up a special offering

H.      And by the way, it was no easier for them than it is for any of us!


III.   Message (Exodus 35:4 - 36:7) What is a Giving Heart?


A.      An Informed Heart (Exodus 35:4-10)


1.       Many people don’t know what God expects, or what they need to do in relation to giving

2.       God has a lot to say about money in the Bible – ultimate financial advisor


a.       God wants you to prosper, to succeed – He does not design us to fail, or want you poor – just poor in spirit!

b.       God shows how to be rich – He doesn’t guarantee it, but shows the best way – through HARD work!

c.        God shows how to ride out the tough times – by saving, not spending

d.       He has a lot to say about the acquisition of money and the management of money


3.       And He has a lot of warnings about money becoming our “god” – protecting us from becoming enslaved to debt, and from being controlled by the love of money!

4.       So God takes the time to explain about the fundamental truth about money – He starts with GIVING


a.       Explained WHAT to give (Exodus 35:5-9)


1)       Not the refuse, or rubbishy stuff

2)       But our best (God ALWAYS gives us HIS best)

3)       The best of our money

4)       The best of our abilities

5)       The best of our time – not the leftovers at the end of a day

6)       The best of our health – not the last of it when we are old and too tired to sin and rebel and drink and drug

7)       Your rubbish bags are not “gifts” to the waste collection guys!


b.       Explained what the gifts would be used for (Exodus 35:10-19)


1)       For the building of the Tabernacle

2)       For all the contents of the Tabernacle – the Ark of the Covenant, the Sacrificial Altar, the Lamp, the Table of Showbread, etc

3)       For the supply for the priests

4)       Always as to the Lord, and not to people!


c.        Explained WHO the gift is TO (Exodus 35:5; Colossians 3:23)


1)       To the Lord “an offering UNTO THE LORD” (35:5)”

2)       Every gift you give in Jesus’ to someone, or to some need, or to your church, is a gift of love from your heart to God

3)       You do not give on the basis of the worth of the receiver – but on the worth of the Lord Jesus!


5.       There are three kinds of “giving”


a.       The Tithe (Malachi 3:10; Proverbs 3:9,10)


1)       10% of income, every time we get paid. No matter how we get paid. Me it’s monthly for 28 yrs as a Christian, others its weekly.

2)       It pays for the operation and expenses of the Church: Rent, Utilities, Insurance, Church Bus, Future Building

3)       It also pays the pastor’s wages – of which there are none yet

4)       It also pays for staff – which we have one person so far on staff


b.       The Offering (2Corinthins 9:6,7)


1)       Above our tithe. A tip

2)       Pays for helping Church Planters around the world


c.        Almsgiving / Charity giving (Deuteronomy 15:7,10)


1)       Honours the Lord in the lives of people who cannot work

2)       Helps widows and fatherless

3)       Meets needs among our own folks when disaster strikes


B.      A Soft Heart (Exodus 35:20,21a; Ezekiel 36:26)


1.       They heard what Moses said and then went home, pondering, and thinking about what was said.

2.       And they came back to Moses. Their hearts were soft towards the things God asked for


a.       Soft towards needs around you

b.       Soft towards God’s whisper

c.        Compassionate, pitiful

d.       This kind of heart only exists in a humble believer – not “too busy” or frustrated

e.        It is a heart that has replaced what used to be a hard, uncaring, rebellious, selfish heart (Ezekiel 36:26). Happens when you get born again


3.       How to tell if you have a HARD or SOFT heart towards the things of God


a.       If you get upset about God talking about money, or about your need to go soul-winning, or your need to humble yourself to your family or wife or husband when you have ignored them and hurt them, then YOU need a new heart!

b.       If you find yourself listening and agreeing with what God says in His word, then you have a soft heart


C.      A Stirred Heart (Exodus 35:21)


1.       These people were excited, motivated to give

2.       Not by a motivational speech by Moses, but by the Holy Spirit of God whispering in their conscience that this was a good thing!

3.       Stirred means: roused, awoken, revived, motivated, excited, fired up, driven! Something was bringing these people back to Moses with gift after gift

4.       Some people get stirred when they see a great need

5.       Christians get stirred when we hear God’s word calling us to give by faith for souls and for a vision of our church growing and turning our world upside-down


D.      A Willing Heart (Exodus 35:22)


1.       Oh, there are people in this room whose hearts have been made soft (born again), and have been stirred, but who are not willing – they hold the final say, and they say NO

2.       Giving is an act of a free-will


a.       That’s what makes it so precious to the Lord

b.       It is directly connected with LOVE

c.        When you love, you easily give

d.       How sad if this congregation refused to give


3.       But these people, gave, and gave, and gave


a.       The giving was their choice

b.       Don’t you love it when someone goes out of their way just to do something just for you just because they wanted to?!


4.       Worship begins ONLY when it is out of a willing, longing heart


a.       Whether a person could give little or much matters nothing – it was the fact they just gave! THAT’S what worship is!

b.       Do you have a terrible singing voice? Sing loud and clear

c.        No money? Give the Gospel to someone (Acts 3:5,6)

d.       Not much time? Not able to do much for the Lord because in debt, and working all the time? Well give your Sundays!

e.        Not much by way of intelligence? Just love people, and give them your patience, and prayers and testimony about the God who takes such good care of you!


5.       A willingness will make up for a lot of lack (2Cor 8:1-5)


E.       A Wise Heart (Exodus 35:25-35)


1.       Thoughtful about “what” to give

2.       Thoughtful how they might do something just for the Lord’s glory

3.       They used their talents for God. Too many use their talents for the devil


a.       Many of the Rock Stars of the 60’s and 70’s started singing in church choirs, and then went on and sang in hell-holes

b.       God gave you a talent to play the piano or guitar – use it WISELY for His glory, not for sex, drugs and rock and roll!

c.        God gave you an ability to gab? Use it for the Gospel

d.       God gave you an ability with numbers, computers, design?

e.        Work your job, yes, and pay the bills, but use your talents as a GIFT back to God!


4.       Bezaleel wisely used his talent, as did a load of other men and women (35:30-35)

5.       What talent do you have? Develop it for the glory of GOD, not of yourself


a.       Musical talent

b.       Managerial talent

c.        Money talent

d.       Maintenance talent

e.        Ministry talent – just serving, and helping in any way needed!


F.       A Blessed Heart (Exodus 36:1-4)


1.       Every giver ended up with more than they started with. You can never give, that you won’t receive back more from God (Luke 6:38)

2.       The people enjoyed giving so much that they just kept giving (36:3)

3.       The workers enjoyed working for the Lord so much that they just kept working, and working, and working (36:4)

4.       These folks were being made free from covetousness, from greed, from the bondage of the love of money, and the debt it creates… How?

5.       By just giving to the Lord!

6.       Not just once or twice either

7.       It became a habit – just like drinking used to be, or smoking

8.       Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you gave to GOD what you used to waste on drink and smokes?

9.       How many thousands of Euros have you spent on drugs and on porn and on gambling?

10.    Well, you got in the habit (addiction) of throwing that money away… it’s time to get into the habit of investing it in eternal things (Matthew 6:19,20)


G.      A Sufficient Heart (Exodus 36:5-7) This is awesome!


1.       Could there really be enough among this travelling group of people to meet the need?


a.       The people gave, and they loved giving

b.       They gave as part of their worship and love for God, and for their church

c.        They got into the habit of giving – to the Lord, to people’s needs – that they didn’t know when to stop


2.       They had to be told “ENOUGH!” You can stop giving now!


a.       Some people give until it hurts – God’s people give until it feels good!

b.       Sometimes we have a need, like the cost of the printing of the Christmas Tract in the Evening Echo… wouldn’t it be amazing to have to tell folks, to STOP giving towards that need?

c.        Sometimes we hear of a Church Planter needing some help with purchasing Bibles, or renting a building, or a medical emergency… it should be normal, in a Christian church to have to tell folks STOP, instead of having to BEG them to START!


3.       When God’s people start to live by faith, and giving from their willing heart, there will always be enough to meet the needs – not the wants, but the needs!


a.       Long before the governments started to take over welfare and poverty, God’s people were doing it, and only failed when they started to think more about this life than the world to come, and started to back away from reaching our generation with the Gospel


4.       Folks, we have all it takes, if we have this kind of a heart beating in every one of us!


IV.    Application


A.      If everyone had a Giving Kind of a Heart, instead of s stingy, miserly heart

B.      We could afford whatever we need… when we ALL participate

C.      Every week, about a €1,000 is given into that little green offering box

D.      Without knowing how much anyone makes in our church, I can still pretty easily figure out that half of you don’t tithe at all


1.       And yet you claim to be saved, born again, headed for heaven because you have received the precious gift of eternal life

2.       And you come to church and sit in a very comfortable facility

3.       You probably are holding a Bible that was given to you at no cost to you

4.       You probably were invited by someone who freely gave you a Gospel leaflet

5.       You have never heard a request for money

6.       You rarely even ever hear me even mention money


E.       Well, now you know what God expects, and why, and how to give

F.       If every person in this room who gets any form of income, if every one of us tithed, JUST TITHED, we would double our weekly offerings, instantly, and have enough to purchase a 6,000 square foot building for use as our very own church building

G.      If everyone just gave an offering, a tip on top of their tithe, we would be able to double the number of church planters that we currently financially support from 8 to 16 – all in an instant! Just because every one of us participate


V.      Conclusion


A.      I cannot motivate you


1.       The need won’t motivate you

2.       GOD has to be the motivator in your life


B.      Giving is a necessary ingredient of the Christian life


1.       Giving is A Biblical Command

2.       Giving is A Hard Command

3.       Giving is A “Freeing” Command

4.       Giving Comes from God – the original Giver!

5.       And it produces a kind of a heart that rises to the need, that honours and blesses the Lord, that gives when there is little, and gives its best!


C.      What kind of a heart GIVES like these people in Exodus 35 and 36?


1.       An Informed Heart (Exodus 35:4-10)

2.       A Soft Heart (Exodus 35:20,21a; Ezekiel 36:26)

3.       A Stirred Heart (Exodus 35:21)

4.       A Willing Heart (Exodus 35:22)

5.       A Wise Heart (Exodus 35:25-35)

6.       A Blessed Heart (Exodus 36:1-4)

7.       A Sufficient Heart (Exodus 36:5-7)


D.      Begins with a New Heart – given to you by the Lord Jesus Himself