“Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the people were restrained from bringing. Exodus 36:6.
Under the Jewish system, the people were required to cherish a spirit of liberality, both in sustaining the cause of God and in supplying the wants of the needy. At the harvest and the vintage, the firstfruits of the fields—corn, wine, and oil—were to be consecrated as an offering to the Lord. The gleanings and the corners of the fields were reserved for the poor. The firstfruits of the wool when the sheep were shorn, of the grain when the wheat was threshed, were to be offered to the Lord; and at the feast it was commanded that the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the strangers should be invited. At the close of every year all were required to make solemn oath whether or not they had done according to the command of God.
This arrangement was made by the Lord to impress upon the people that in every matter He must be first. They were, by this system of benevolence, reminded that their gracious Master was the true proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds, that the God of heaven sent them sunshine and rain for their seed-time and harvest, and that everything which they possessed was of His creation. All was the Lord’s, and He had made them stewards of His goods.
The liberality of the Jews in the construction of the tabernacle evinced a spirit of benevolence which has not been equaled by the people of God at any later date. The Hebrews had just been freed from their long bondage in Egypt, they were wanderers in the wilderness; yet scarcely were they delivered from the armies of the Egyptians who pursued them in their hasty journey, when the word of the Lord came to Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” …
All gave with a willing hand, not a certain amount of their increase, but a large portion of their actual possessions. They devoted it gladly and heartily to the Lord. They honored Him by so doing. Was it not all His? Had He not given them all that they possessed? If He called for it, was it not their duty to give back to the lender His own? No urging was needed. The people brought even more than was required; and they were told to desist, for there was already more than could be appropriated.—The Review and Herald, October 17, 1882.