"More Than Enough" (Exodus 36:3-5)
In building the tabernacle and its furnishings, the Lord called two gifted artisans, Bezalel and Aholiab, to “do every work” and “design artistic works” (Exodus 35:30-35). Other skilled tradesmen worked with them as well but these two are especially recognized (36:1-2). Hiring custom craftsman to do work is not cheap. These highly gifted men would need to be paid for both their time, skills, and for the expensive materials they would use for this God-ordained job. This expense was one of the purposes of the freewill offering Moses commanded of Israel at the Lord’s direction (Exodus 25:1-2; 35:5, 20-22).
Thankfully, the craftsmen run into a good type of problem—an over-abundance of offerings. In many cases in Scripture, there was a shortage of funds or workers. Yet, we see the opposite in Exodus 36:3-5,
“And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, ‘The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.”
“More than enough” is far better than “not enough.” In many churches today, it is typical to hear of congregations needing to cut back on their budget. Local preachers may not get the total support they need for their work because of budget restraints. Some churches cannot even afford to pay one minister a fair living wage. Refusals of foreign evangelism requests must take place because the money is unavailable. Church buildings may become outdated and in need of repair because there are no funds to remodel and repair. Needy saints are given the bare minimum to meet their needs due to a tight fiscal situation. We may have to work with outdated technology for sharing the gospel electronically (social media, apps, web site, video streaming) because of lack of funding.
Now, imagine though, if the local church was in the situation of pre-tabernacle Israel. Instead of financial shortages, elders and deacons were able to work with financial excess. Preachers would not need to be bi-vocational or work a side job or depend on their wife’s health insurance but could be supported above their necessities. Foreign evangelists could thrive. Buildings were paid off and repairs and updates could be easily made without debate. The needs of saints could be supplied abundantly. Deacons could do their work free of the worry of crossing the financial threshold.
Sometimes the problem is not that we do not have enough to give. Sometimes the problem is that we give with a budget in mind. If the church is meeting the budget, we give just enough to ensure the bare minimum expenses are met. Israel’s example is powerful because their mentality was to provide not “just enough” but “more than enough.” What is yours?