The LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give." Exodus 25:1-2
God's instructions to build the tabernacle were detailed and precise. God said, "Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you" (Exodus 25:9). Then in the following chapters, God clearly explained the measurements and needed material. But notice in today's passage that the contributions necessary to fund the project were left entirely to the worshiper.
God did not command people to give, nor did He provide a suggested donation. The monies to build the tabernacle and furnishings were to come from "everyone whose heart prompts them to give." Giving is an act of worship. Forced worship is not worship!
This worship principle is repeated in the New Testament. As Paul collected an offering for the struggling church in Jerusalem, he instructed each person to "give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). From the Old Testament to the New, giving is an act of individual worship. Giving out of compulsion, legalism, manipulation or force is not worship at all.
Father, remind us that You own all things. All we have is from You. Help us give back to You willingly. In Jesus' name. Amen.