Tuesday, February 09, 2010

2010 – Day 40. Feb. 9 – Nothing But the Finest for God

Study from Numbers 16 – 18; Passage for Reflection: Numbers 18: 29 … NIV [God’s instructions to the Levites through Moses] You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.

My Journal for Today: Tithing. It seems so legalist, … so arbitrary, … doesn’t it? It almost seems like God is modeling selfishness by wanting the first and the best as He commands us to give to Him. And then, He not only asks His children to give the best of their best to His Priesthood, He turns around and asks the Levites, His Priesthood, to give the very best from the Tithe as their tithe to God.

And if you’ve read along with me today, in Numbers 16, there is the story of how God handled those who rebelled and decided that God’s Priesthood had gone too far in their demands (which, of course, were only the commands of God passed along to His chosen people from Moses). Today, there are many Christians who have trouble with the concept of the “TITHE;” and I’m not going to get into that Old Covenant verses New Covenant theological debate here. But no matter who you are as a believer in Christ, there is no doubt that God has a lot to say in His word to His kids about stewardship, giving, and how we prioritize the handling of God’s providence.

You probably know – or I hope you do – what God’s word highlights about tithing, giving, and being a steward of His talents, time, or treasures. And if you cannot glean from God’s truth that He demands the first and the best from what He’s given to us as a marker of our devotion to Him, I think you need to do some serious study on this. Because when I read passages like those linked here ... Malachi 3: 7 – 10 … or Proverbs 3: 9 – 10 … or 2nd Cor. 9: 6 -7 … or [Jesus Himself teaching about stewardship] in Matt. 25: 14-30 and Matt. 6: 19 – 24, it seems so very obvious to me that what we do with what God has given us is how God measures our devotion to Him as our Lord.

So, a long time ago, my wife and I decided to quit debating about whether the “tithe” was an Old Testament or New Testament command on our lives. We decided to prioritize what God had given us, i.e., time, talents, and/or treasures; and without questioning or grumbling, to gratefully and joyfully give the first and the best portion of His providence back to Him. Now, I can almost feel the wheels turning in the minds of those who are reading here, some of you asking, “Well, Bill (and Elly), how do you do that … this business of tithing and giving of our time, talents, and treasures?” And I agree that this is a very important question which we all need to answer from God’s teaching and leading. My wife and I have studied on this, prayed about it, and we’ve decided how we go about giving back to God His first and His best from His providence. And I’m not about to try to legalistically say here’s THE ANSWER, the “Berry Patch” answer, to that challenging question for you.

No, you’re going to have to answer that one for yourself; but I will say that those verses I’ve prioritized above [see those linked, emboldened and underlined] would be a good place to start if you’re trying to answer this very important question related to Godly Stewardship. But … please [!!!] don’t put it off; because putting off how you give back to God will delay just how much God can or will pour Himself into your lives; and you don’t want to be delaying the dispersal of God’s grace in your life either because you’re ignorant of God’s plan for giving or because you’re simply not willing to cooperate with His plan.

So let’s all answer the question my devotional shepherd, F. LaGard Smith, challenges us with today. He writes, Of all that I give to God today, will it truly be the best and the holiest?”

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that my life is truly a living sacrifice; and I pray that I’m always giving back without hesitation the first and the best You have given to me. Amen

No comments: