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“No man should appear before the Lord empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” (Deuteronomy 16:16-17)
Many people dislike the month of April when, by law, they must file their tax return and pay any additional taxes owed. Most grumble having to pay more on top of what they already contributed. However, others look forward to having their tax return completed, anticipating a refund. Some even receive abundantly more than expected. Nobody likes paying taxes but in order for government to carry on, we must contribute.
The same can be true when the offering basket comes around. Some grumble, others are cheerful, and some uncertain. What ought to be a joyful expression of admiration, trust, and obedience to God is often less than an enjoyable observance. God never intended for His children to feel pressured into giving, to be misled and confused, nor give half-heartedly. If you are struggling, dig deeper into God’s Word relying upon his Holy Spirit to speak truth into your heart. This will enable you to give out of reverence, obedience and a joyful heart.
Old Testament tithing, commanded by God, was the way and means He provided for the church, the Levites, and the priest. The Israelites were required to give a tithe (a tenth) of their crops, fruit, and herds to support the Levites. The Levite were to give “a tenth of the tithe” to support the priest. Over time, the Israelites disregarded God’s command and as a result, God’s church was neglected. God ordered them to stop robbing Him and to bring in the whole tithe. Out of their obedience God would open the floodgates of Heaven and bless them abundantly.
For further insight, look up the following OT scriptures: Leviticus 27:30-34, Numbers 18:21-30, Deuteronomy 12, 14:22-29, 26, 2 Chronicles 31:4-8, Nehemiah 10:37-39, 13:10-12, and Malachi 3:6-14. You will understand why God commands you to tithe to your local church and to help those in need out of the abundance He bestows upon you.
In the New Testament, Christians are to give but what matters more to Jesus is the condition of our heart (Mathew 5:23-24, Mathew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Luke 18:9-14). As followers of Christ, we are to go beyond the offering basket being past around. We are to reach out and help others in need.
Here are some NT scriptures on giving to God and aiding those in need. Giving should be done: freely (Mat 10:8), sacrificially (Luke 21:1-4), continuously (1Cor 16:2), willingly (2 Cor 8:1-7), generously and joyfully (2 Cor 9:6-15). More importantly, make certain your heart is right with God when giving back to Him and helping others. God desires to bless each one of us abundantly so we can be a blessing to others. Truly, blessings and rewards await a faithful, generous, joyful giver here on earth and in heaven.
Father, Remind me that all I have is a gift from you. You have promised to supply all my needs. Help me to trust that You really will. Help me to be a joyful and generous giver. Amen.
Question: How can you become a more joyful giver?