Deuteronomy 16:17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.
The principle of proportional offerings, established by God through Moses, has remained valid ever since. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” (2 Corinthians 8:12) Shortly after that he famously wrote, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) We tend to think in absolute terms, particularly financially, but God doesn’t, since His wealth is infinite in the first place. God doesn’t need anything material that we could give Him, but He wants our hearts, our love and devotion. Offerings are a very good indication of that, because we tend to get very emotionally attached to our finances. Tithing is an excellent starting point, because it’s an easy calculation, but the very fact that it’s a calculation makes some people balk, saying it feels like a tax instead of an offering. We need to be grateful that God has supplied enough that just a tenth of it is the amount we are to give. When people haven’t been raised with tithing, deciding to tithe after they have a real job can be quite a stretch, particularly if it’s a good-paying one. However, we need to remember Jesus’ famous observation to His disciples, one day when they were in view of the offering box at the temple. “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.’” (Mark 12:41-44) We have nothing to complain about!
I have tithed, and more, for many years, but compared to that widow I certainly have nothing to brag about! As a pastor I want to teach the believers the joy of giving, but since I benefit from their giving, that makes me feel awkward in talking about it. I think that’s something most pastors struggle with, but some seem to have no trouble begging for money! I will not do that, but the fear of seeming to do that has held me back from teaching this truth effectively. I certainly need God’s wisdom, and I need to take my eyes off of myself better. I am forever telling others to look at Jesus rather than at themselves or their circumstances, but I need to take my own advice better! With changing US administrations there is a great deal of uncertainty in the world. I’ve got to trust God and look forward to His resolution of everything, not hanging onto anything in fear. He has provided and He will provide, and as He has told me, I am to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I was under a lot of emotional attack yesterday, but You were faithful. Help me indeed give You everything, not just materially but emotionally and spiritually, in trusting obedience, so that I may be fully useful to You for Your purposes and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!