"From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering." Exodus 25:2
Via Moses, God instructs the children of Israel to give offerings to Him as they begin to build a sancuary. There are definite requirements for what they can give; however, the critical condition is that they offer these gifts "willingly". God does not obligate us to give, but when we do, He accepts our offerings based on our motives.
It is not to say that obligation is inherently bad. If we love God, we should feel a sense of obligation or responsiblity to give. However, if the offering lacks alacrity or love, then the act of giving is meaningless and superficial. It is not the gift in itself that judges the man's heart, but rather the man's heart that judges the gift. Is the gift satisfactory? Is it good enough for God?
Obviously, God does not need our gifts. Plainly, our gifts will never be good enough for Him; however, when we give, it is a sign that we honor Him. And in honoring Him, we become less important as He becomes more important in our lives. In the case of the children of Israel, they were sacrificing their precious materials, but consequently these items were essential in building them a sancuary to worship God. In our lives, our sacrifice of goods and resources will help us focus more on Him; however, the condition is that we do it out of willingness.
Please help me to give willingly, so that I will be able to focus more of my life on You. Help me to not feel obligated to give, but rather help me to love to give because I love You.