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Monday, June 13, 2011

Bear Valley Church of Christ

Bear Valley reminds me of a characteristic of Israel present in the fundraising for the tabernacle in Exodus 35-36.  Many times throughout the year, this congregation proves it is filled with people longing to show their generosity even beyond the "regular contribution."  Whereas elders and preachers in most places often find themselves berating, cajoling, and otherwise pleading with members to give more, this congregation continually humbles and amazes by their inclination toward sacrificial giving.  Future Preachers Training Camp has once again reminded me of the blessing of preaching among a people so prone to give from the heart.  How the Lord loves such an unselfish disposition.

How heartening it must have been for Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel to witness such an outpouring among them.  Stirred hearts and spirits filled the camp, and contributions began to flow like water from a bursted dam (cf. Ex. 35:20ff).  Their hearts moved and their pursestrings opened wide (cf. Ex. 35:26,29).  People put their talents to work with their treasures, too, using their abilities to do the Lord's work. The climax of this account comes when the skilled men came each from their work stations with a similar report, that "The people are bringing much more than enough for the construction work which the LORD commanded us to perform" (Ex. 36:5).  Moses had to command the people to stop giving, saying, "Let no man or woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary" (Ex. 36:6).  The Bible actually says, "Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more" (Ex. 36:7).  Incredible!

Too many times, churches may have heard their leaders and ministers try to restrain them from moral, attitudinal, or doctrinal sins.  Israel was restrained from giving any more.  Imagine what could be done in evangelism, missions, benevolence, advertising, audio-visual technology, and general church growth if the church caught this spirit of relentless giving!  So, how does that start?  Doesn't it begin with each of us having our hearts and minds stirred by a conviction about how important the Lord's work is and how tangibly we can play a part through our giving?

Thanks to this church's boundless generosity, many young men have had their hearts turned to full-time missions and preaching.  Churches around this country and the world have been blessed by their efforts and eternity will no doubt be filled with people reached by these men who were encouraged by the heartfelt, unrestrained giving of brothers and sisters in Christ!   It is amazing to see what God can do with the open hearts, hands, and wallets of generous Christians! 

Neal Pollard 

 

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