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Week 6 Day 4 – Give it All, 10% is a Good Start

Leviticus 27:1-34

This chapter is dealing with special vows that are made to the Lord as a demonstration of extreme devotion and dedication. These vows are in no way demanded by the Law. However, God does take vows very seriously. This whole chapter could be summarized like this, “You don’t have to give special offerings to God and make over and above commitments to God…but if you do, you had better follow through with them. God does not take promises lightly.”

Here’s the part of the chapter that may be lost to the contemporary reader. In vv. 30-33 God clarifies something. He says that you cannot dedicate your firstborn or your first 10% of your crops and income. Why is that? Does God not want our best? Yes, of course He does. The point is that you cannot dedicate it to God because…YOU’VE ALREADY GIVEN IT. The tithe BELONGS to the Lord.

OK hold it right there. As American Christians we have bought into the idea that tithing (giving 10% of all that we have) to God is an optional act. In our minds we feel like we are really stepping out in faith when we work our way up to a 10% giving level. Read this passage again. The 10% belongs to God; it isn’t yours to choose to give or not to give. If we follow this to its logical conclusion then we could say that by not giving our 10% to God we are actually stealing from Him by withholding from Him what belongs to Him. Yikes! How many times have we heard that preached? By even writing these words I am risking being accused of legalism and emotional extortion. Yet, that is what this chapter is teaching.

Why is giving so hard for us? Why do we hold back from God? Bottom line…its a trust issue. We don’t believe that God is the one who provides our needs. We don’t believe that this is His Kingdom and that everything we “own” actually belongs to Him and He is letting us use it. If we would just let go of the notion that we can own anything and that we can control our own destiny through economic or political manipulation, we would be free of worry and be able to operate, every moment, in the peace of God that passes all understanding.

It’s true; you do not have to give big offerings to God. You do not have to take a vow of poverty and shave your head. Some may be compelled to do so. If so, they had better follow through. For the rest of us, we need to remember that the 10% issue is a matter of ownership. It’s not yours, it’s God’s.

This chapter is dealing with special vows that are made to the Lord as a demonstration of extreme devotion and dedication. These vows are in no way demanded by the Law. However, God does take vows very seriously. This whole chapter could be summarized like this, “You don’t have to give special offerings to God and make over and above commitments to God…but if you do, you had better follow through with them. God does not take promises lightly.”

Here’s the part of the chapter that may be lost to the contemporary reader. In vv. 30-33 God clarifies something. He says that you cannot dedicate your firstborn or your first 10% of your crops and income. Why is that? Does God not want our best? Yes, of course He does. The point is that you cannot dedicate it to God because…YOU’VE ALREADY GIVEN IT. The tithe BELONGS to the Lord.

OK hold it right there. As American Christians we have bought into the idea that tithing (giving 10% of all that we have) to God is an optional act. In our minds we feel like we are really stepping out in faith when we work our way up to a 10% giving level. Read this passage again. The 10% belongs to God; it isn’t yours to choose to give or not to give. If we follow this to its logical conclusion then we could say that by not giving our 10% to God we are actually stealing from Him by withholding from Him what belongs to Him. Yikes! How many times have we heard that preached? By even writing these words I am risking being accused of legalism and emotional extortion. Yet, that is what this chapter is teaching.

Why is giving so hard for us? Why do we hold back from God? Bottom line…its a trust issue. We don’t believe that God is the one who provides our needs. We don’t believe that this is His Kingdom and that everything we “own” actually belongs to Him and He is letting us use it. If we would just let go of the notion that we can own anything and that we can control our own destiny through economic or political manipulation, we would be free of worry and be able to operate, every moment, in the peace of God that passes all understanding.

It’s true; you do not have to give big offerings to God. You do not have to take a vow of poverty and shave your head. Some may be compelled to do so. If so, they had better follow through. For the rest of us, we need to remember that the 10% issue is a matter of ownership. It’s not yours, it’s God’s.

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