Ex. 25:1-2 “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.’”
As the LORD prepares to have the tabernacle built, he desires to build it from the voluntary contributions of his people. God does not need their money or gifts. He could speak and make the tabernacle. But he wants it to be created out of the gifts of his people.
This is an offering above the tithe, a voluntary contribution from the heart. As a person’s heart moves them, so they give. The Lord is pleased to build the tabernacle out of the heartfelt gifts of his people!
This is how a church is built today, too. Not just the building, but the church itself. God’s people give what their heart moves them to give. This one gives prayer, that one gives teaching, this one the gift of fellowship, that one gives song, this one service, that one administration, this one gives shepherding, that one hospitality, this one leadership.
God takes these gifts of his people, offered from their hearts, and behold, from these various gifts his church is built. A structure of living stones, an edifice that’s very existence brings glory to God and joy to his people. “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
Let us bring him our gifts, humble as they may be. Let us bring him our best, most heartfelt gifts to build his church. It is not the pastor’s gifts that build the Lord’s church any more than it was the gifts of the priests that built the tabernacle. It is the gifts of the people of God!
John Calvin comments on this passage:
"Now, although He required no assistance from the people for the building and adorning of His tabernacle, since it was He who, for the maintenance of them all, daily rained down manna from heaven; yet he would have everyone, from the very least to the greatest, bring together, in testimony of their piety, whatever was necessary for the sacred work."
"But what He then would have spent on the visible sanctuary, He now requires for the building of His spiritual temple. Properly speaking, it is He alone that builds His Church; yet He uses the work of men, and will have many builders associated with Him, that the edifice of His Church may arise in some measure by the labor of men; as also He ascribes the praise of its prosperity and success to them. Meanwhile we offer nothing which He Himself has not bestowed; just as the Israelites gave nothing but what had been derived from his bounty alone."
"Therefore, He distributes the gifts of His Spirit in certain measures, (1 Corinthians 12:7) that, as each has received more or less, he may employ it on the building of the Church. But this should be the best incentive to activity, that none is so poor or humble, but that his offering is acceptable and pleasing, however small it may be."
This is how Christ Presbyterian Church will be built here, and how any new church is built, wherever the Lord desires to start new churches. As people have their hearts moved to bring their different gifts to God, a living church will arise before us by the hand of God! Lord, build for yourself here a church for your glory and the joy of your people. “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18).