PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Deuteronomy 16:16b-17 CSB says, “No one is to appear before the Lord empty-handed. Everyone must appear with a gift suited to his means, according to the blessing the Lord your God has given you.”
I read this passage this morning and thought it went well with our topic from yesterday. This comes from a part of Scripture when the 40 years of wandering were almost up and Moses gave the Israelites a recap of what had happened and God’s expectations of them. That included giving back.
To be clear, when it comes to tithing or bringing gifts to God, God doesn’t need our money. We already established yesterday that He already owns it anyway. But despite the fact that He doesn’t need anything from us, He still instructed us to give. It’s an act of gratitude. And what stood out most to me is the very last part of verse 17–“according to the blessing the Lord your God has given you.”
Before we continue, there are some with the school of thought that we are no longer obligated to give tithes. That’s Old Testament. Jesus fixed all those rules.
Well, technically, Jesus came to fulfill the law, not erase it. I mean, we’re still expected to follow the 10 Commandments, right? I’m not saying we need to resume animal sacrifices. Jesus did take care of that. But tithing is something we should do as a thank you for all we’ve been given.
The New Testament supports this. Paul wrote, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV).
The argument has also been made to me that churches shouldn’t expect people to give to them. That’s one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever heard. I’ll concede that a church owes it to their congregation to be transparent with how they budget and be prepared to answer questions from their donors. But how anyone expects the lights to stay on without money is beyond me. After all, the church may be non-profit, but Duke Energy is not. Ironically, I never hear this argument about giving to secular non-profit groups. But somehow, many in our society expect the church to make it year after year on $0.00.
Again though, I can back up my argument with Scripture. 1 Corinthians 9:14 ESV says, “In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.”
With all that said, where I will concede is the type of gift. Yes, the church needs financial support. But we can also give through our talents and service. You may be one of those “I don’t have any talents” kind of thinkers (but I’m sure you’re wrong—everyone has some kind of talent). But how much talent does it take to stack chairs? Talent doesn’t always equate to singing solos or playing music. When it comes to this kind of giving, I always think of my grandparents.
My Papo noticed that the church marquee never got updated so he talked to the pastor about taking on that responsibility. Faithfully, week after week for years, Papo went to church to change the letters on the marquee so drivers could see what was happening at the church.
And my Mamo had a GED and was never the kind of bookworm my mom or I am… Yet she invested thousands of manhours in her church library, getting it organized and maintaining it for the congregation.
My grandparents were faithful about giving a financial tithe. But they were also generous givers of themselves. They did according to scripture—and offered “gift[s] suited to his means.” And in doing so, left an example for me to follow.
How can you give back to God? Are you prepared to show up and give back from what He has blessed you with?
Today, as you pray, thank God for His generous blessings. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be a cheerful giver, and to use your money and acts of service to the good of the church.