Monday, February 25, 2013
Don't Be Stingy With God
Num. 18:29 You must present as the LORD’S portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.’
Instructions were being given to the Levites regarding offerings. The people were to bring a tithe to the priests and from this the priests were to present a tithe to God. The instructions for the priests were simple in regard to their tithe. They were to give God the best and holiest portion of everything that they were given.
We read later about the failure of the priests. Eli's sons were wicked because they wanted the very best of everything for themselves. They would use a utensil and dig out the best pieces of meat for themselves from the offerings to God. They were selfish and were punished because they would not give to God. God's desire for his servants was that they would give to him out of the generosity of their hearts nurtured in a personal relationship with him.
Have you ever been at the receiving end of donations? As a missionary we collected all kinds of interesting things that people thought they could send off to the missions work. Imagine paying customs fees only to open a box with 20 year old used magazines and clothing that had gone out of style the same year the magazines were published. There is always the lingering story of the box of used tea bags that was sent to missionaries. Surely those poor people overseas could use them a second time! Or the box of left shoes my parents received in Germany following World War II; there must be a lot of people around with their right foot blown off!!!
While we laugh at these stories which are sad but true -- we must examine ourselves and determine whether we are stingy with God. God was only asking for a tithe -- a tenth of what people and priests received. They could have the other 90%. But in giving to God we are to bring him our very best! Unfortunately human nature tends to make us stingy. First off -- we don't even want to give a tenth. Today's Christians are considered some of the most generous people in the world, but on average they don't give ten percent to the Lord. Why is that? Why have we become stingy with what we have? God says that we are to give him the best ten percent -- and why not?
Just imagine what would happen if God's people were not stingy with God but gave him our very best. What if we gave him our very best work ethic? What if we gave him our very best attitudes? What if we gave him our very best time of the day? What if we gave him the best of everything? But too often we give God our left-overs. We squeeze in some time for God or the church IF there is time after we've done everything else we want to do. We might squeeze in some time for our devotions at the end of the day IF the basketball game ends early enough and I'm not too tired. We might be kind and loving to those around us IF they are nice to us.
God didn't ask us to squeeze him into our lives. He wants to be the very center of our lives and everything else is to flow from this. We are to bring him our very best each and every single day. The result is a healthy balance in life. God's desire is always for our well-being and part of that is having a healthy attitude towards the things that we might think are ours. If we hold lightly to our own self-interests then we can enjoy life so much more. Let's give God the very best of all we have and then relax in him and his leading.
Lord, thank you for all you've given me. Please help me have a heart filled with love, gratitude and generosity. Amen.