The Lord told Moses to instruct the children of Israel to bring materials that would be used in the construction of the tabernacle, a sanctuary, that He might dwell among His people. Some brought gold, silver, brass and costly stones for its construction. Some brought bright cloths of blue, scarlet and fine twined linen. Others brought valuable wood for the boards and various pieces of tabernacle furniture. Some brought goats’ hair, badgers’ skins and rams’ skins dyed red (Exo 25:1-8).
While these materials, individually and collectively, speak to us of the attributes and character of the Lord Jesus in His person and work, they present to us some very practical applications regarding the subject of consecration, or the subject of serving the Lord.
The goats’ hair, badgers’ skins and rams’ skins dyed red may have seemed insignificant compared to the gold, silver, precious stones and brightly coloured cloths. However, they had a very practical and valuable use, serving as a protective covering for the tabernacle from the scorching heat of the desert sun and from the sand storms that were often experienced in the wilderness. In fact, when the tabernacle was finally erected, all that could be seen from without was the covering of badgers’ skins.
Some wonder if what they do is significant or has any value as far as service for the Lord is concerned. One of the tendencies of human nature is to compare ourselves with others. Paul reminds us that to compare ourselves among ourselves or to measure ourselves by ourselves is not wise (2Co 10:12). When we recognize that what we do, we do as unto the Lord, and it is He who fits and enables us for service, we will the more readily do what He has given us to do. It should be understood as well that the Lord never requires us to do that which He has not empowered or fitted us to do. Neither does He fit us to do nothing at all.
When Moses protested to the Lord about his own inadequacies and limitations, the Lord asked, “What is that in thine hand?” (Exo 4:2). To Moses it was just a rod. Yet when that rod was yielded to the Lord, it was used in showing the mighty power of God in the devastating plagues that were brought upon the land of Egypt (chs.7-12). It was used in demonstrating God’s power in the parting of the Red Sea, effecting Israel’s deliverance (14:16-21). It was also used in providing water for Israel in the desert (17:6). What was small and insignificant to Moses became the means of demonstrating God’s mighty power and marvellous provision.
In 2 Kings 4, the prophet Elisha asked a poor widow, “What hast thou in the house?” (v2). To the widow it was just a pot of oil, but with God’s power, it became enough to pay her debt and live comfortably for a long while. When faced with a hungry multitude of more than four thousand, the Lord Jesus asked His disciples, “How many loaves have ye?” (Mat 15:34; Mar 8:5). To the disciples, seven loaves and a few little fishes were grossly inadequate in such circumstances, but in the Lord’s hands, they were not only sufficient to feed the hungry multitude but sufficient to have seven baskets of food over and above that which the multitude ate.
Never think that what you have is too small for God to use. Never think that you are too insignificant or what you do is too insignificant for God to notice. The poor widow gave her two mites for the temple treasury (Mar 12:41-44; Luk 21:1-4). It seemed so little compared to the abundance of wealth put in by the rich, but she gave all she had and she gave from a heart yielded to God, and the Saviour took notice.
The believers of the churches in Macedonia were experiencing great persecution and deep poverty for the sake of the Lord Jesus. In spite of their own dire circumstances, they were prepared to give the little they had to the Lord to be used in helping the poor saints at Jerusalem. They begged Paul to take their gift and distribute to the needy saints. When Paul saw their generosity, he remarked, “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God” (2Co 8:5). When we are willing to surrender our meagre resources and ourselves in devoted service unto the Lord, He is able to use both what we have and what we are for His own purposes and glory, and mighty things are accomplished.
God, in His grace, has given many spiritual gifts to the Church, including evangelists, pastors and teachers (Eph 4:7-11). He also gave gifts of ministering (serving), exhorting, giving and ruling (Rom 12:7-8); even hospitality is a spiritual gift (1Pe 4:9-10). We tend to think of the public gifts of evangelism, preaching, teaching and exhorting as being the more important gifts. As a result, we may think of the gifts of serving, giving and hospitality as being less significant, or less important. There is a tremendous need, particularly in our day, for the public proclamation of the gospel, and for encouraging and strengthening believers through the teaching of the Word of God, and we must never undervalue these most necessary gifts. However, we must learn that God does not value one gift above another, or one person above another. Whether we preach or teach, or whether we minister to others by entertaining them in our homes, all are of equal value in the sight of God. All are given to us to be used for the benefit and blessing of God’s people, the Church, which is His body, and for the honour and glory of our Lord Jesus, as Paul expressed in his letter to the saints at Ephesus, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12).
Someone once said, “Little is much if God is in it.” Let us, then, be willing to yield our materials, whatever they may be, and our selves to be used in consecrated service to our God. We have the promise from His Word, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Heb 6:10).
 Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV.