Giving is very important in Jewish culture and the Torah gives is some examples to follow. “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ Aaron answered them, ‘Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’” Exodus 32:1-4
In another part of the Torah we read, “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded: the tabernacle with its tent and its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases…Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord.” Exodus 35:10-22
It is interested how the same jewelry or resources that could be used to build one could have helped build the other. God said “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.” Exodus 25:8-9 This begs the question, what are you building? How are you using the resources God has given you? Do your actions more closely “pattern” after those who built the idol or the tabernacle? You my be thinking what do you mean because we no longer have a Jewish temple to go to but we can be God's temple by allow God to dwell in us.
We can ask are we building a place for God to dwell in the hearts of others by investing our means to share our faith, support our congregation, and give to those in need? Or are we making idols out of our possessions and declaring by our actions that it is our things, not the God of Israel that has been leading us as our core motivation in life and trust to deliver us in times of trouble? What are you investing in, the things of God or something else? It is something worth thinking about. It is your choice whether you will build your own golden calf by worshiping your possessions or use your possessions to build a tabernacle and worship God.
Picture originally found here