May 5, 2017

Deuteronomy 16:17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.

Here we have another hint as to why God tells us to give Him stuff, and specifically proportional things like a tithe. When we approach it this way, giving should be a reminder of just how much God has blessed us, and should be an occasion for gratitude. We tend to live our lives oblivious to how much God has poured out on us and for us, so being required to give a proportional offering should help us open our eyes. Sadly, we are all too likely to slip into an entitlement mentality and just complain that we don’t have more. That’s no way to enjoy what we have! One particular Internet meme has a good purpose, and that’s the one about “1st World Problems.” By contrasting the things we complain about to the problems of people in poor countries, it points out just how absurd our complaints often are. Much of the time we live like spoiled brats! By giving a tithe, for example, we should be prompted to gratitude that God has supplied 10 times that amount to us. Both psychologists and common sense tell us that “an attitude of gratitude” is a prime component of genuine happiness. Even Paul weighed in on this point. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6)

I fall into complaining about “1st world problems” all too often, but I think I’m getting better about it. Thankfully, the lust for more stuff seems to be abating. I’m in the middle of further training in that right now. The bulb for our projector (that we use for songs in our services) burned out Sunday morning, and we had to make copies of all the songs we used. Because of the absurd cost of a replacement bulb when ordered from Japan, I located a projector with better “specs” online for less than the cost of the bulb, and ordered it. It arrived yesterday, and I spent several hours trying to get it set up. The final conclusion is that because it is designed for a “home theater,” the lens will not focus at the distance from the back of our sanctuary to the front, so it is useless to us and I will have to return it. That was disappointing to say the least, but the the Lord has allowed me to see that this is an issue of degrees of luxury, rather than anything approaching a tragedy. We do need a good projector, but in the mean time we have a good copier! God has provided abundantly in every area, and the better I realize that, the greater my gratitude and joy will be.

Father, thank You for the various lessons You teach us. Help me appropriate them better, so I won’t need so many “refresher courses!” Thank You indeed that I was able to order the projector and have it delivered in the middle of a holiday period. I do ask for wisdom in the return process, and particularly in locating something that will genuinely meet our needs. In the mean time, help me rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as you have told me to do, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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7 Responses to May 5, 2017

  1. simonjkyte says:

    I really think this is just the authors D and P looking after themselves and arguing about who it should be. It’s all very ANE too – like treaties and suzerainty; this can’t be conditional

    • jgarrott says:

      I honestly don’t understand your comment. What I do know is that tithing has been an enormous blessing to me, helping me keep in focus the reality that everything I have comes from God.

  2. simonjkyte says:

    I take it you don’t subscribe to any Documentary Hypothesis then?

    • jgarrott says:

      I understand fully that what Moses wrote was edited by later scribes, but I do not subscribe to any multi-author hypothesis.

      • simonjkyte says:

        doublets, contradictions, different styles, different god, different number of days of rain in the flood, man created twice, moses does something aaron does something, the 10 commandments in there 3 times each time different….

      • simonjkyte says:

        the below is not meant in anything other than a questioning way BTW. i would be interested to hear how you explain these issues.

  3. jgarrott says:

    I don’t know how many sources Moses may have used, and actually, I don’t know how many of the Israelites were literate at the time. Oral tradition can play interesting tricks. Some of the “parallels” between Abraham and Isaac are interesting to say the least, making me wonder if they both actually passed their wife off as their sister, for example. I ultimately come back to the principle that the Holy Spirit is the best Commentator on what He caused to be written.

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