Psalm 50:14-15 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
For several verses before this, God is pointing out to His people that He doesn’t actually need anything from them. That’s a good reminder, because sometimes we get to the point of “God owes me for all I’ve given to Him.” God doesn’t owe us a thing, because anything we could possibly give Him, He created or enabled in the first place! At the same time, we have this verse, and it speaks much more of our response to God’s provision than it does of our “earning” anything. We need to give to God, not because of His need but because of our need to recognize and acknowledge our dependence on Him. When we recognize how gracious God is toward us, it is entirely appropriate, and helpful to us, to give Him something in response. It has become a truism, but we can’t possibly out-give God. Sadly, some people seem to have a “give to get” theology, and that too is a misunderstanding. Such an attitude tends to reduce God to a business transaction, and that is a loss all the way around. Our attitude is of the utmost importance. As Paul famously noted, “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) God doesn’t “need” anything, but He desires our hearts, and our response to the material things in our possession both demonstrates and affects our attitude toward Him. That’s what this passage is all about.
I was raised in a giving family, being taught to tithe from the point I was first given an allowance. That’s actually a very good illustration of this principle, because I certainly didn’t earn that allowance, and the amount I gave had no practical impact on the church we were attending. However, that lesson stayed with me, even though I got away from tithing at some point while my heart was wandering away from God. I honestly don’t remember when I stopped tithing, but I do know that it was during that period when we had a car repossessed by the bank. Failing to keep God first in my finances had a very bad effect on my finances as a whole. It was a few years after that, around the time our second daughter was born, that my wife and I both came to the conviction that we needed to tithe. As I have written repeatedly, God had very graciously drawn me back to Himself, showing me the state of my heart. Our finances were a wreck at that point, so much so that Medicaid paid for just about everything involved in our daughter’s birth, because we simply didn’t have the money. We wanted to tithe, but we never had a tenth left over at the end of the month. Finally we said we were going to give a tithe as soon as any money came in, and trust God with it all. From the point we did that, our finances took a decided uptick, and we started having a little bit left over! That’s been over 48 years ago now, and God has never let us down. There have certainly been times when we wanted more, but God has met every one of our genuine needs, and we are deeply grateful.
Father, thank You indeed for Your gracious provision. Help me be the steward You want me to be, using everything You place in my hands, material or otherwise, exactly as You desire, so that Your purposes for it all may be fulfilled, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!