All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do. Exodus 35:29
Transition seems to force us into “survival mode.” Our tendency in transitional periods is to turn in on ourselves. Whether the transition period is personal or within our community, our tendency is to turn in on ourselves. We hoard our resources to preserve a feeling of security, preferring to wait until things seem more settled to invest in others and give of ourselves. Culturally this is a very normal reaction. We seem to be told to look out for ourselves first, make sure your own personal future is secure. But the reality is, hearing from God and acting on his command, even when it seems risky in the moment, is preparing for the provision of the future.
The Israelites were a tribe in transition. In Exodus 35 we encounter this community in the process of moving from one land (Egypt) to another (Canaan). They are moving from slavery to freedom. They are moving from a dependable, albeit miserable, existence to following Yahweh in trust and the unknown. Yet God walked with them in the midst of transition. and, in Exodus 35, we find them building the tabernacle as a place of worship that will move with them in their time of transition. While the Israelites certainly had their share of failures and hard-heartedness, in this passage they respond with faith. Each person, whoever was willing, looked at what they had and responded to God’s leading, bringing what they could in obedience to the Lord and for the good of the community. Notice that each person’s contribution wasn’t every last thing they had, and it wasn’t the exact same thing that everyone else contributed. Some people wove thread. Some people brought spices. A few taught others to craft it together. But in the end, the item each brought wasn’t what mattered, the act of contributing is what mattered.
In times of transition resist the temptation to turn inward for security and stability. Instead, make an effort to share what you have, whether that is time, resources, or giftedness.
This is easier said than done, so ask yourself: what holds me back from sharing what I have when I’m in transition? What step can I take in faith to share with others instead of shrinking back?
By Jessica Rust