“…everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.”
– Exodus 36:2
Only those who were stirred within themselves were called to do the work of the Lord. They did not do it out of compulsion, to be seen, or to earn anything. They were moved only by what God was doing. That is what drove them and made them eager to get to work. They were not burdened with work, the Bible tells us they performed it willingly. There is a difference.
To the religious elite of the day, Jesus said, “But all their works they do to be seen by men” (Mattew 23:5). The name Pharisee came from the word meaning “to separate.” They were separated from Gentiles and non-practicing Jews. This was not a group that was created by any commandment of the Lord, it was a man-made institution. It started out innocent enough, and there were probably many genuine Pharisees in that time seeking pure truth. However, due to traditions and outward appearances, it was far removed from its original design. The chasm that separated them from their forefathers we see in Exodus was now vast.
It was well known that the Pharisees enjoyed their religion to build themselves up. Warren Wiersbe writes, “…for the most part, the Pharisees used their religion to promote themselves and their material gain.” They instituted man-made rules and conformed to them outwardly without ever taking care of the inward man. Outwardly they did things that made them appear righteous, but inwardly their hearts were far from God. Their motivation was the praise of others rather than a stirred heart to do the work of the Lord.
In what we know today as The Beatitudes, Jesus was teaching about this very issue. He was speaking about the intent of the heart behind charitable deeds. He was warning the Christ-follower to be careful to examine the spirit behind the motive. It is said that charitable acts actually means righteousness. We are told by Jesus not to do our righteous deeds to put them on display for others to see. In fact, they are to be done so secretly that we should not even know we are doing them if that were even possible. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3).
Our God-given skills, interests, and finances should be used for God’s glory. It is not the action or offering that matters, however, it is the intent of the heart that is accounted as righteousness. It is only the heart that is stirred by the Lord and done as unto Him that receives a reward. All other efforts are of no value and will burn in the end. May our hearts be stirred for Jesus, and our works built on Him alone.
“…each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
– 1 Corinthians 3:13-15