2 Corinthians 9:6-7 – Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Devotion: My first experience with tithing was not a positive experience My Church Parents – a Christian couple assigned to nurture me in the faith because my parents where not believers – decided to teach me the practice of tithing. Marge asked me to bring my first paychecks to the church, after I cashed them, so I could learn to “tithe.” Joyfully, I brought a small wad of cash on a Sunday morning. She counted and stacked three piles of money: one for tithing, savings, and spending. “You need to put this ten-percent in the offering plate for the Lord,” she said. It looked huge but the Bible told me this was the right thing to do as a believer. “This ten-percent is for your savings account,” she continued. “And this stack you can buy clothes for school.”
Two weeks later, I decided to out-smart her. I cashed my paycheck and spent the money. “Where is your paycheck?” Marge asked. “I spent it,” I replied with a smile. “So, there is no money for God this week.” “Oh, is that right?” Marge asked. “Show me the things you bought with God’s money.” She drove me home where I showed her the toys I had purchased with the money. “Thank you for buying these for the Lord,” she said as she took the items from me. “You don’t get to spend God’s money on yourself. God will give these to kids who need them.” I was shocked and amazed! I learned the lesson. It was the last time I kept God’s money for myself.
The Old Testament command to tithe is no longer a legal requirement for believers in Christ. It is a Christian practice that helps us to learn to give, but it is not a requirement for church membership. Jesus’ command to Love God and Love Others exceeds strict limitations (only giving 10%) to the greater act of “generous.” Giving is a spiritual discipline: things Christian people do together over time in response to and in light of God’s active presence for the life of the world. Give, and you will learn gratitude.
Prayer: Gracious God, you have given your creation everything – life, breathe, healing, help, sustenance, a Savior, and the Spirit. You have opened your heart and hands to us in Jesus Christ. Help us to give as you give – graciously, generously, and with gratitude. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.