Giving; September 14, 2020

Genesis 33:11 “Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it.

This story tells us all sorts of things about the people involved, as well as the customs of the day. We find that Jacob was indeed very intelligent (or maybe we should say, crafty) and knew how to give a bribe to save his skin. We also learn how Jacob valued the members of his own household. His was certainly what we would call a dysfunctional family today! The rivalries among his wives and concubines are mentioned elsewhere, and his children were ranked in terms of which womb they came from. It’s no wonder his other sons were jealous of Joseph and wanted to kill him! (Genesis 37) All that said, Jacob still managed to say something here that should impact how we think about our own lives: “God has been gracious to me, and I have plenty.” We have a bad tendency to forget that everything we have is a manifestation of God’s grace. Yes, our effort is often involved, but if God didn’t provide it, we wouldn’t have a thing. That’s a major function of tithing. Returning to God 1/10 is to remind us that all of it originates with Him. I talked about tithing with someone recently who is getting started in their first real job. They were taken aback by the idea of giving that large an amount every month, since they did not have the example of tithing when they were growing up. I told them that they should rejoice that God had provided so much as to enable that sort of giving! (They were leaving to work elsewhere, so I wasn’t trying to get more income for this church.) The thing is, we should all look at God’s supply as an opportunity to pass it on appropriately. Few are called to give it all away (though some are) but all of us will find joy and satisfaction as we allow God to meet others’ needs through us, and the first step in it all is tithing, to establish in our own heart and mind that God is our Source.

I am pestered with requests for donations on a daily basis, and I have gotten to where I turn it all off. That isn’t really good. Even political donations can be God’s will for us at times, but I find such organizations as and Samaritan’s Purse far more compelling. However, I was indeed raised to tithe, and I am grateful. God’s supply is indeed abundant, and I am to be a steward and not a glutton. In teaching others about giving, I am to be an example, but never boastful about it. That can take more wisdom than I have at times. However, God provides wisdom too, (James 1:5) so I have no excuse!

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all You did in this church yesterday. I pray that I wouldn’t get in Your way, but would flow with Your Spirit in all that You are doing on every level, for the blessing of many and 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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