Sanctuary Shekels

The gospel is free, yet someone has to pay for the plumbing.  That’s an old line from a radio show I listened to years ago.  When soliciting donations from listeners, the hosts wanted to make sure people knew that they weren’t hucksters trying to loot them.

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. 13 Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the Lord. 14 All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord. 15 The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives. 16 Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord, making atonement for your lives.”
Exodus 30:11-16

Yes, there are hucksters out there. In all parts of the economy and markets.  Yet they stink worse when they are associated with God’s work.  God is not interesting in scamming people.  He is interesting in liberating people.

The atonement money was used for the service of the tent of meeting.  Plain and simple.  Which seems reasonable to me.  Particularly if I am one of the people served by the tent of meeting and the priests there.

How’s your confidence level in giving to the church?  There is much teaching on giving in the Bible, with the amounts and rationale left to you and the Holy Spirit in New Testament instruction.  Are you worried about what tithes and offerings are used for?  Are you concerned someone is lining their pockets?

I see two data points with clusters of examples around each.  We have the big-church name-it-and-claim-it televangelist types who are, in most cases, hucksters making money off regular people.  They drive fancy cars and have yachts.

Then there are the humble shepherds.

The humble shepherds earn an average wage.  In fact, for their education they earn below average wages.  They have a hard time living in the neighbourhoods in which they serve.  Their constituents are often careful to scrutinize the church’s spending while posting vacation pix on social media.  There is a sacrifice to serve.

Which brings me back to me.  God planned for the church to need support from its people.  I’m its people.  So I better get comfortable supporting the church.  Holy Spirit, keep speaking to my heart about when and how to give to support my church and my shepherds.

I am listening and trying to hold my wallet with a loose grip.

Everything I have I consider a blessing and a gift from you.


Marc Kinna


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