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‘Are you willing and able?’

All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord. —Exodus 35:29 (NRSV)

The Lenten Season is about sacrifice. Sacrifice is the willingness to die from self, so that something better can come through God’s Spirit.

In Exodus 35:29, the Israelite men and women were willing to bring anything for the work of the Lord. The key word in this verse is willing. The Hebrew word for willingness is yall, which means to undertake (to do anything).

Willingness is the freedom from reluctance. It is the state of being willing and having free choice or consent to will. Willingness is the ability to put away selfish ambition, and in humility regard others better than yourself. Willingness is a matter of the heart, as indicated in Exodus 35:29. Everything we do comes from the heart.

There are a lot of churches that are declining, but it hasn’t come for lack of trying. Trying is not good enough because we can’t convince someone to come to church if it is not a decision made from their heart. The church can use tactics to bring them in the door, but eventually they will fade away if their heart is not willing.

There are four types of people who you may encounter during this life. They are unwilling and unable people, unwilling and able people, willing and unable people and willing and able people.

Unwilling and unable people are hard to find because they have to lack something and at the same time be unwilling to give. Unwilling and able people are more common. Do you know someone who you know can help you, but they are unwilling to help? They fall within this category. They are like the rich man in Matthew 19:24 or the man with one talent in Matthew 25. They have it to give, but they decide to keep it for themselves. That’s selfishness! Willing and unable people have their heart in the right place, but they lack something to give. They want to write a $25,000 check to their favorite charity or church, but God hasn’t blessed them with that yet. They are like the Zarephath widow or the widow who gave her last coin to Jesus.

Willing and able people are who all of us should be striving to be. These are the only people who are represented in Exodus 35. Be a willing and able person. The Israelite men and women brought things to God’s House that God blessed them with. They gave freely to God, not out of necessity or obligation, but out of a spirit of willingness.

I’m a willing and able person. If God has blessed me with it, I’m willing to give it to God and others. Be blessed and freely give!