As a Lenten practice during this season, clergy and leaders in the church from youth to elders will be sharing their devotions.
Scripture: Deuteronomy 13-14
Key verse: (14:22) “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes the field year by year.”
Reflection: According to the covenant between God and the Israelites, we are to tithe or “give 10% of what we have to the church”. To be honest tithing is not always easy. However, as with anything if done regularly and often it becomes second nature. When I started my career 20+ years ago I was living in NYC and I was barely making enough to cover rent and food. My boss told me that in order to be paid any extra commissions I had to max out my 401k. I thought she was crazy; I could barely pay bills much less save anything! But she told me something that I will never forget, “If you cannot save now you will never be able to save. Saving is a habit that you should start early – you may earn more as you get older but your expenses will be larger too. Make it a priority now and it will be a priority always.” She was right, if you can save when things are tight then you will be equipped to save for life.
I believe the same is true with tithing. Have you ever felt like you didn’t have enough to give? Or that if you just had a little more, then you could be comfortable to give? When we feel this way, do you notice how tightly we hold on to what is rightly a blessing from God? What might it mean to give not out of comfort but out of sacrifice? Just as my boss took the opportunity to set in motion a lifetime habit, we have the opportunity to do the same in our lives, with our children, and the next generation of the church. When I was growing up, every time I received money as a present I had to tithe, usually it was to our church but I also was able to give to an organization or charity that was important to me. I wish I could say I did it joyfully but that was not always the case. However, through the discipline of this practice and the guidance of my parents, I learned that not only was this the right thing to do but it actually felt good to gain greater perspective of what is truly God’s in the world! I was taught that everything we have is a gift from God. Tithing is an important reminder of this and a way to thank God for all of the blessings God has bestowed on us. Just as saving for a 401k at an early age led to financial prudence, tithing at early age can set in motion a lifetime of gratitude for all that God has given us, for we tithe not to save up greater glory but we give in gratitude of the greatest gift already given.
Prayer: Dear God, we come to you today grateful for all that you have given us. On days when we are struggling or days when we do not feel as though we have enough, let us always remember that you have blessed us with exactly what we need. Help us God to give freely and generously just as you have to us. In God’s name we pray. Amen.
Author: Zelle Dunn, Elder class of 2021
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].