If you grew up in the church, then there is a high probability that you were trained to give your one dollar bill during offering. Without fail, I would always wake up with a dollar bill on my desk and I didn’t question as to what that dollar was for every Sunday morning. I would pick up the dollar and put it in the collection basket. What I didn’t know however was the meaning and purpose behind the offering. As I got older, I realized that the offering every Sunday was more than giving money but that it was an act of trust and validation that God’s grace is what keeps us living. Even today’s passage has taught me even more things about tithing (offering) in that it was not just an act of trust unto the Lord but that it was to be a joyous occasion rather than reluctant giving. To tithe is to give 10% or more but more than giving money, it’s about the giving of your life unto the Lord. Whether you give one dollar or a hundred dollars, the ultimate point is a life dedicated unto the LORD in trust and that one of the greatest ways we can show our trust in Him is to trust Him with our monetary/physical possessions.
As we are fast approaching another Sunday, let us prepare our hearts for the offering. It is something that happens so frequently and quickly as the basket passes but before it comes, prepare your heart in prayer by acknowledging that this “dollar” that is going in is a moment to sit back and reflect that God has and always been faithful as we continue to trust Him with our lives!
NOTES ON THE TEXT
Giving God our first and best, not our last and worst (v.2)
When the Israelites were to enter the land, they were to give God the best of what they produced and that was the first fruits that the land produced. To give the first fruits was to give the best of what you had and to give it immediately unto God. How can we live a first fruits lifestyle? It is about giving God our best rather than our leftovers. This is not to say that doing devos at night does not count but we have to ask ourselves whether it is the best that we are giving unto the LORD? If it is, then give it, but if it is not then rethink what you are giving! I have heard many times of people saying that they want to do whatever they want first and then serve the Lord but that is not giving the first fruits! To give the first fruits is in action of trust that to give the best is in fact setting us up to live the best lives because we are living in trust in God who is good. Though the focus is about tangibly trusting God with our possessions, it’s about more than money as the bigger question is whether you can give the best with the greatest possession you own, which is your life!
As we tithe let us remember where we came from (v.5-11)
As the Israelites gave their offering, they recited their history. The Israelite history was one of humble beginnings and filled with struggle but also filled with God’s grace in constantly providing and delivering them. The tithe was a proclamation of God’s faithfulness and was a time to celebrate that. I know at times our circumstance blinds us to how blessed we truly are but the weekly time of offering is an opportunity to remind ourselves how blessed we truly are and celebrate in the positivity.
The tithe supports community function (v.12-16)
Ever wonder where that money goes? The money that is offered helps pay for everything that we do from helping feed the people at every function to the games that are played. The tithe in the Israelite community was used to take care of the people that were less fortunate and need help to live for God care about everyone within the community and has set up a system that takes care of people well.
Give offering with all of your heart and whole being (v.12-16)
If you look at verses 13-15, the person giving the tithe recites how they have lived and prepared themselves for the giving of the tithe. This was to show the sacredness and seriousness of the tithe. It was something special and not treated as a common thing. As the offering was sacred, they themselves conducted a lifestyle that also reflected the nature of the offering. It is also important that the person offering the tithe lives in accordance to God’s ways for what they give is an extension of who they are. That is why the tithe is not to be a mindless giving but is an act that involves your whole being as you are to give with your heart behind it rather than a mindless action.