I couldn’t stop the tears as they flowed down my face. Crying in church, I’m ok with that. But when you start that shaking-and-I-can’t-stop bawling, that can be down right embarrassing.
Our pastor was preaching on, of all things, giving. Giving. Is that something to really get so emotional about? This is an area that hasn’t actually been a struggle for our family. God blessed me with an incredibly generous man and he has taught me in our years together what it means to be a giver. (Honestly, it has been a long and slow learning process for me!)
So why was I crying over giving?
Being called to give
Because the Lord was pressing on my heart to give and to give generously to someone who is hurting. Sitting there in church, it was if the Lord was allowing me to feel the pain they are feeling; the hurt they are going through in this very difficult time. That pain and weight was heaving in my chest as if it was my own.
But that is not all that was going on. God was speaking to me to give. I know I just said that, but in our family, God usually speaks to my husband, Greg. Greg the generous one. Greg shares with me where God is leading His heart and we give. It is not the other way around.
But on this day it was.
Afraid to give
I walked out of church still visibly upset. Then fear set in. I started to feel very uncomfortable talking to Greg about what I felt the Lord was telling me. I wanted to back out; told myself, that’s just your emotions talking. Calm down. It will go away.
But no; that’s not what the Holy Spirit had in mind.
So I got up the nerve to talk to my man and as I knew he would, he said “yes”.
This is where the bad news comes in.
That was two months ago and I haven’t taken the steps to do the giving I felt prompted to give. With the passing of time, uncomfortable has once again set in and I am letting that feeling rule me.
In Exodus 35, there was a need in the Israelite community and God told the people: “From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering …” (vs. 5)
Everyone who is willing. I got that part down. I am willing.
It’s the next part that gave me a huge shove this morning: “and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work …” (vs. 20)
They weren’t just moved; they moved.
I wondered if you’ve ever been like me, or maybe you’re in that place now. You heard a stirring sermon, read a convicting verse, listened to a compelling story and you felt moved.
But. You. Haven’t. Moved.
Moving when we’re moved
It’s wonderful for us to feel God’s presence, to sense His stirring, but it’s not enough for us to feel Him or hear Him. We can’t just be moved; we have to move. We have to follow through in obedience. That’s where the blessings come in.
I love the way this account of giving in Exodus wraps up; I’ve yet to see anything like it in the modern church. The skilled craftsmen who were doing the work of God went to their leader and said, “Enough! We’ve got enough!” “And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” Exodus 36:6b-7
Lord, we need Your help to help us move when we are moved. Holy Spirit, give us faith, courage and bravery to go and do what You are stirring in our hearts, for we know that obedience to You will bring blessings from You. Amen