Exodus 36.4-7 “The Message”
“All the artisans who were at work making everything involved in constructing the Sanctuary came, one after another, to Moses, saying, ‘The people are bringing more than enough for doing this work that GOD has commanded us to do!’
“So Moses sent out orders through the camp: ‘Men! Women! No more offerings for the building of the Sanctuary!’
“The people were ordered to stop bringing offerings! There was plenty of material for all the work to be done. Enough and more than enough.”
The 80-20 rule was named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who, in 1906, noted that 80% of Italy’s income was collected by 20% of Italy’s population. The 80-20 ratio also held true for the distribution of Italy’s property. Pareto found that 20% of the population owned 80% of the country’s land.
That 80% of the consequences stem from 20% of the causes may be demonstrated in almost every people group… families, companies, government, churches, and countries.
Apparently, the children of Israel at the time of the construction of the wilderness Tabernacle never read Pareto. There was no imbalance of distribution among the givers. Everyone contributed substantially until “enough and more than enough” was collected.
I’ve heard it said that God’s work done in God’s way never lacks God’s provision. My experience, however, validates the Pareto Principle. I’ve heard enough cajoling, pleading, guilt-tripping, and even begging from the pulpit to question whether or not Moses’ principle of “enough and more than enough” really works in today’s church. When it comes to giving time, and talents, and treasures, Pareto’s 80-20 rule well describes the typical parish. I have yet to see a preacher order his parishioners to stop giving. Until then, I will take it on faith that followers of Jesus as a whole can act with the same cooperation, generosity, and obedience of the followers of Moses. But for now, I will hope and strive to be in the 20% of those who do.