Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

A Basket Full of Blessings

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"So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, 'Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.' And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done —indeed too much" (Exodus 36:6-7).

God stirred their hearts and they brought to Moses abundant offerings freely. Not only is this passage the one that you will love to read over and over, but the entire chapter is amazing. Certainly this is the passage that God would love to hear in all of our churches today.

  • Did you looked inside your basket and count your blessings lately?
  • Did you have enough for yourself?
  • Did you see the opportunity to share with others?
  • Did you give thanks to God? Or did you look and start thinking and worrying and doubting or maybe even grumbling?

Some people may say: but wait, don't you read and hear about the economy and what is happening lately, don't you understand that we are under tremendous pressures; we might loss our jobs, our homes, our comfortable lives and etc.

This chapter is very important for us because it reminds us that although the people of Israel were in the desert and completely dependent on God for food, water, cloth, and shelter, but they brought all what they had to build the house of God and they did it in abundance.

They did not hesitate. They trusted that God is the only one who can fill their baskets with abundance every single day and all they needed to do is to give thanks and share it together for the glory of God. And the more they shared, the more their baskets will fill up with more and more blessings from Him.

Today we all are faced with building projects for our churches, lack of service in Sunday school, little or no visitations, people not spreading the word of God, and very few people that can put their time, effort and talent to help others in need.

God will supply everything but only through His people, if we give by our own free will and sacrificially give to others. Then our gifts will become a sweet smelling aroma and well pleasing to God. Then He will give us a lot more for "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

"Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:18-19).

The Christian church in Philippians knew how to provide for others who were in need. Although they were not rich, they were:

  • Giving out of their own free will
  • Giving sacrificially
  • Giving to glorify God
  • Seeking God's way

We are all entering into great financial challenges and all our savings can be wiped out overnight. Or it can happen due to unpredictable weather, or someone can rob our saving from the bank in the touch of the computer button. Or we can lose our jobs and be forced to spend our savings and then sell our home at a loss, all within 6 or 8 months of losing our job.

Remember God is our only source of supplying our needs and He gives to us, but not to be rich or to build up treasure on earth (Luke 12:20). Rather, God gives to us so that we can help others and use it for His glory. God will hold us accountable for what He has been giving us.

Does that mean we should all be poor?
No. It means our spiritual gifts should not be hidden, but that we need to put them in use. It means showing our gratitude and love to God by giving the best of what we have. It means our offering should be pleasing to God, not by giving out of guilt and fear. It means believing that everything we own belongs to God. It means to be available to support others with prayers and financially. And it means to trust that God will provide for our needs.

God promised time and time again that He shall supply all our needs and He will honor His promise whenever we honor Him. And if we trust and believe in our heart that our God can do the impossible, we will never lack or worry.

But that is not going to happen unless we have an intimate relationship with Him, and we believe in our heart that He is the only one who can provide our needs and fill our baskets.

"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him" (Luke 10:33-34).

  • Do you feel good when you help others?
  • Do you get this sense of joy and fulfillment?
  • Do you have this kind of commitment toward others?
  • Does commitment to others help you grow in your faith?

Our lord Jesus Christ gave us a wonderful illustration of human kindness through the parable of the Good Samaritan, and He taught us that fulfilling the spirit of the law is as important as fulfilling the letter of the law. For when we only fulfill the letter of the law:

  • We are not putting our hearts in action
  • We are only serving close relatives and friends
  • We enjoy receiving honor from people
  • We are not honoring God
  • We are not showing humility
  • We do not volunteer with a sacrificial heart

On the other hand, when we fulfill the spirit of the law, we show the love of God to all who are in need of it and we glorify God.

"Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down, and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciple, 'Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.'" (John 6:11-12).

What a wonderful thought to realize that we have no hand in anything that we have inside our baskets. How joyful it would be to give to the Lord Jesus Christ all He has given us, to the glory of His name. Even though what we have may be very little, He will bless it and make it abundant for everyone and much more for us.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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