Willing-Hearted and Wise-Hearted

WHEN Jehovah purposed to have a dwelling-place among His ancient people Israel, He planned in His goodness that His people should all have the opportunity of helping for the erection of His tabernacle in giving materials and in working with their hands. "Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it" (see Ex. 35) "All the congregation" would include the children as well as the grown-up people, and "whosoever is of a willing heart" would include the richest as the poorest. The heart was that to which Jehovah looked. "The Lord loveth a cheerful giver." Read verses 5 to 9, and you will see that both the poor and the rich could help in bringing the things that were required. "And," continued the gracious commandment, "every wise-hearted among you shall come, and make all that the Lord hath commanded." Read now verses 11 to 19, and you will agree that even children's hands could do some of the work that the Lord required for His dwelling-place. God then first called for willing hearts, next for wise hearts; we may all be willing, and we may all be wise to serve our God.
It was a very gracious thing of God so to order that His beautiful house, which He filled with His glory, should be made from the gifts of His people, and by their hands. And thus He orders and purposes even in this our day, for He has not chosen the angels to do His work on earth, but men and women who are willing-hearted and wise-hearted.
At the gracious command the people “came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made; "they came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted." Some brought bracelets, earrings, rings, and jewels of gold—things that were their personal ornaments, and they gave them to their God for materials from which His beautiful dwelling-place was to be made. Others brought blue, purple, and scarlet; linen and skins—things that they prized in their own houses. Others again, brought silver and brass, and such as had none of these great things brought shittim wood, fitted for the work of the service. Had some poor man with a willing heart, but having neither rings, gold nor silver ornaments, and neither blue nor scarlet, in his tent, said in his heart, "I will go and hew down a limb of the acacia tree—for that is the tree my God has chosen for His house—and bring a branch of it to Moses," his gift would have been as precious in the sight of Jehovah as that of the princes who poured out their treasures at Moses's feet. A willing heart was that which the Lord loved, and willing hearts brought the gifts that God delighted in. All the wealth of all the world is His; the gold and the silver are His, the trees of the forest are His; nothing that we have is our own, but our God loves the cheerful giver and the willing heart.
We are beginning another year—who are the willing-hearted ones that will present their gifts to God? What can we give to Him? Let us think. We may not be rich—we may not have much to offer, but what can we give to our God? The willing-hearted will come, this new year, to His feet with their offerings of love—some with their time, some with their talents—"every one whose heart stirred him up," and bring the best they can to the Lord. May each of our dear young Christian readers be among this happy company, in whom God delights. It was a lovely sight to witness the people of Israel flocking in to offer their gifts to their blessed God; and, though our natural eyes cannot see the sight, yet we seem to behold troops of God's people coming to His feet to give Him what they have. God be with them all—"every one whom his spirit made willing.”
It is so happy when God's people are willing. It is a sign of great good, as it is written, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power." (Psa. 110:33Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. (Psalm 110:3).) See the brave crew man the lifeboat, and launch out to the sinking ship, and learn the joy of exposing yourself to danger for the salvation of others; see the kind nurse laboring over the little child under her charge, and mark the pleasure of self-denial, and learn from such examples the joy of the Christian, who seeks to save the perishing or to nurture the weak.
The wise-hearted first spoken of in this chapter are the women: "All the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands." Some spun blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen—some, whose heart stirred them up in wisdom, spun goats' hair. Happy day in Israel, when the willing-hearted and the wise-hearted "brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work"! There was no murmuring against God amongst them on that day, we may be sure, nor quarreling together, as is the case with those whose hands are idle, and whom Satan employs in mischief. It is so happy, too, in thinking of these wise people, to remember that their own hands did the work. They did not get someone else to spin for them—they did the work themselves for God; and that is the right kind of way to work for Him. It is a happy service for boys and girls who love the Lord to make things with their own hands for the needy, to do what they do their very own selves. The wise-hearted will think of what to do, and those whose hearts stir them up will find out, for example, what poor and aged persons need, and will cheer them by their handiwork. Busy people in God's service are generally happy people; the only busy people who are in the way are the busybodies, who buzz about the workers and fidget them.
It is a great favor from God to be both willing and wise for Himself, Good Dorcas was both, and she made clothes for the poor. No doubt she made them very well, and of the right size for those for whom they were intended. The coats and garments she made, and which the widows who so missed her showed to the apostle, were worth seeing, and God raised her from the dead at the prayer of His servant, and presented her to the saints and the widows. No doubt Dorcas, wise-hearted as she was, continued her work for the Lord when her spirit came back to this earth. May there be an increase in the numbers of wise-hearted boys and girls by our few words in FAITHFUL WORDS.
As you think of the beautiful tabernacle of God, and of the people of Israel coming with their offerings to the Lord, some putting down their rolls of stuff, or their vessels of gold and silver, as our picture represents, may you all be stirred up to be willing-hearted and wise-hearted, for remember that now God's people are His dwelling-place, as it is written, "Ye are the temple of God" (1 Cor. 3:1616Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)), and that His people are the living stones who are "built up a spiritual house" (1 Pet. 2:55Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)), so that we help in our little way in caring for God's house by caring for the people of whom it is composed.