Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Sharing for the GospelDeuteronomy 14:22-29
Deuteronomy is the final book of the first set in the Jewish torah, and our Holy Bible. This first set of five books in the Bible are known as the Pentateuch and is generally attributed to Moses as the writer of THE LORD God’s communication. Deuteronomy, as well as the rest of the Pentateuch, is a carefully woven variety of styles: from historical accounts of Israelis hearing and following THE LORD’S direction toward the land of promise, to specific rules and regulations HE established to ensure equity and balance for all members within the Israeli community. God’s plan, perfect of course, was for HIS people to worship HIM anytime, anywhere, without limits, reservation, or excuse. THE LORD God demanded and guided Israelis to care for their family, as well as to ensure that everyone, regardless of who they are, receives sufficient means to live, and provision to worship THE LORD consistently and conscientiously.
Deuteronomy 14 presents much for us to take to heart, understanding God’s provision and value today. Look at how THE LORD requires every household of the Israeli community to give a tenth of their crops for the livelihood of their family, as well as to provide for economic well-being of the whole community, including the Priests and Levites who are the worship leaders and guides communicating God’s laws and requirements for the people. THE LORD’S care and intelligence in this arrangement is that no individual should ever go hungry or without necessities to live, as the whole community contributes their ten percent tithe (also known today as taxes) that enables the nation to be continually funded. God outlined a clear system, ensuring individuals and families take only what they needed, and give a tenth of their crops. He also emphasized that no individual or family should be exempt from this economic program. By providing for the sale of crops and making it easier for people to enjoy their harvest and praise the LORD as expected wherever they may be, no eligible person, that is one of GOD’S people, would have any reason to refuse worship of the LORD God, and hold back their expected offering to THE LORD in service to God’s people. Finally, a special tri-enial offering was required, this is, every three years. Since the Levites are wholly devoted in their lives to worship God, and to direct the community of Israel to worship and live for HIM alone, THE LORD God ensures they are provided for through the dedicated three-year tithe offering from each household of the Israeli community.
What an ingenious economic system this proves to be, and its application for us today is far-reaching. HE shows us how incredibly far just a tenth of our resources can go, when we realize where all this comes from. By recognizing that what we have is from our all-wonderful Jireh God, we are more cheerful and willing to give ourselves and our resources to faithfully serve HIM, and consequently encourage each of God’s people to also work hard, earn a living, and follow in this pattern of giving by paying it forward.
Consider this responsibility we have been given by THE LORD Jesus, both in giving for the work of the church, for missionary and other charitable services, as well as our day-to-day cheerful assistance offered to others in the form of a glass of water, financial and material means, or guidance and support in going through a rough, or joyous life event. Matthew Chap. 25 clearly illustrates the vital significance of giving one hundred percent of who we are, not just some, but all--every last fragment of our resources for HIS service, this is, our money, effort, time, our character—personality, thought, intention, and any other material and personality resource with which THE LORD God has blessed us. Jesus so brilliantly ties this into a familiar scenario, which is the context of money investment, with an unmistakable, glaring, warning sign in verse 29; irresponsibility is inexcusable on the part of someone blessed with so much to the point that the rug will instantaneously be pulled out from under them. Even that with which they were blessed and so familiar will vanish due to their gross negligence, and unfaithfulness to God, themselves, and others. We must all be keenly aware that being blessed with undeserved grace, and enjoying our lives ought not lead us to selfishness and dis-connect with our fellow brother and sister. We must remember our ultimate enemy Satan—the devil, as seen throughout the Old and New Testaments, has the prime goal of filling us up so bloated with self-absorbed vanity by making us lazy. As a result, we are unable and unwilling to see through the cloud of self-pride.
He does not even have to fire a weapon or break a bone within us. When we are so full of ourselves, we become paralyzed and have virtually no desire or sensitivity to reach outward to understand the needs of others to fulfill GOD” s ultimate mission for us. What is this mission that we are all called to fulfill? It is to worship Jesus, our savior and LORD always and forever, by loving and serving HIM and the least and greatest of HIS people with all that we’ve got: glorifying HIM forever more in this life, and through all eternity in heavenly glory.
Heavenly FATHER, our brilliant maker and LORD, today may we recognize that our hands, our feet, all that we are, and ever hope to achieve, be authored, intentioned, directed, and properly motivated to realize your ultimate purposes for your people, while meeting our daily bread. Take our lives, our limbs, our resources and ourselves, and let them be, consecrated all to thee, LORD Jesus. For we know, we are your temple, in whom YOUR HOLY SPIRIT dwells. Let us therefore not be reluctant to serve you with our resources, and giving a portion of that with which we are blessed. Do forgive us when we have miss-used your gifts and blessings, and miss-represented you, LORD Jesus, our Heavenly FATHER God.
Brothers and sisters, be a blessing today by using and demonstrating GOD’S perfect love and unity. Encourage one another to work hard, to give and do their best, to dive deep into loving and serving Jesus forever: not holding anything back, as HE has given all for us. Amen, and amen!
Long Island Mar Thoma Church, NY