Day 042: The Lure of More Than Enough (Exodus 36:4-6)

One example of the Japanese “Extreme Van” culture. For more, check out this link

all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more. (Exodus 36:4-6)

Through the Bible: Exodus 36-38

As a sixteen year old, I wanted to make my first car look really cool. That’s a tall order for a ’77 Oldsmobile Omega–there’s only so much you can do. Plus, I didn’t know much about cars. But anything I could do, I wanted to do. Chrome wheels. Raised white letter tires. An electric blue paint job from Earl Scheib, whose “I’ll paint any car for $99.95” commercials made him famous.

The temptation to go over the top with modifications doesn’t stop with cars. HGTV is an entire network dedicated to extremes. Extreme home makeovers. Extreme fish tanks. Extreme tree houses. With enough disposable income and leisure time, you can overcustomize anything.

I usually read Exodus 36 as a beautiful example of the generosity of God’s people. They were so excited to contribute to the tabernacle that they had to be restrained from doing more. As a pastor, I’ve often wished for that problem!

But it was a problem. As we have seen over the past few days, God went into exacting detail about how He wanted His tabernacle. He knew down to the last bronze ring and silver pomegranate what would be needed for every phase of construction. And I think He knew the tendency of His people to add to His perfect design.

We mean well. We decide an expanded foyer will make our church more appealing. Better landscaping will give us more curb appeal. And what about a gym? That would draw people in. A separate building for the youth, complete with a climbing wall and a sound system left over from U2’s last tour.

And before we know it, we’ve invested so much in our building that we have little left over–either financially or emotionally–for actual ministry.

So Moses restrained the children of Israel from making any further contributions “because the material they had was sufficient for all the work, and more.”

God has given us His plan for how He will build His church, and it doesn’t involve a light show, or a sanctuary with a retractable roof, or indoor fireworks on the Fourth of July.

It involves people telling other people about Jesus. It involves making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all things God has commanded us (Matthew 28:18-20).

We already have everything we need for all the work, and more. God built the church the way He wanted it. Now He wants the church the way He built it.


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