By Lisa Huddleston

“You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give” (Exodus 25:2).

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I read through the same Bible every year, The Daily Walk Bible.  I enjoy the continuity and even reread the notes I’ve made on previous passes.  It is funny to me how often I think the exact same thoughts and make a move to pencil them in only to find I’ve already written the words.  That’s why it was interesting that yesterday’s reading struck me anew.  No old underlinings.  No thoughts scratched in the margins.  Must not have been much to ponder, I thought.  It was after all only a description of God’s plans for the design of the tabernacle:  Exodus 25-27.  I’d probably never found much of interest in those chapters before.  But this time was different.

Right away it struck me.  God told Moses to have the Israelites bring an offering and only those whose hearts prompted them to were to give.  I wondered if I was one whose heart would have prompted me to give?  In fact, does it prompt me now?  And, if it does, what is it that I am to offer?  I underlined Exodus 25:2 and jotted these questions in my journal.  Good thoughts, I mused, as I read on.

Oh boy.  Now I remembered why I hadn’t paid close attention to these chapters before.  Forgive me, but pretty boring stuff.  It sure could have used some illustrations to keep me interested.  But in spite of myself, I started to pick up on something.  At the end of each section of His description, God said something like, “See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain” (Ex. 25:40).  Or “Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain” (Ex. 26:30).  Or “It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain” (Ex. 27:8).  God had a plan, a pattern He wanted the Israelites to follow, and He was more than willing to show it to them.  Again, I underlined these thoughts and wrote in my journal.  Does God have a similarly specific pattern for my life?  Am I following the plan as He has laid it out?

It was something worth pondering.  In this example, God had laid out a pattern.  He even specified the materials, dimensions, and designs.  But then He gave the work to those whose hearts were willing to complete them.  I wonder were the embroiderers, metal workers, carpenters, and other artists allowed to work through their gifts with freedom of creativity and artistic expression?  Did their work feel restrictive or liberating?  Was God glad to receive their visions and innovations as long as they stayed within His specifications?

And finally I asked Him.  Lord, what is your plan for me?  With what materials do you want me to work?  What is my heart prompting me to give?  My answer, of course, is words.  Words to study.  Words to write.  Words to ask powerful questions through coaching.  Words to instruct and teach.  Words to encourage.  Yes.  For me, it’s all about words, and my pattern to follow is The Word.

Wow.  Amazing to find these treasures previously concealed but now shining like gems in what I thought was dull and only worth a skim.  And true to my conclusion, I want to pass them along to you.  What is God’s plan for you?  What materials has He given you to work with?  What is your heart prompting you to give back to Him as an offering?  The answers to these questions may not hit you right away, but I’m sure they’re waiting for you to discover when the time is right—if your heart is willing.

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