Text: Exodus 35-37; Proverbs 7
When God calls His people to make the tabernacle – a mobile worship center – He moves in their hearts to give material gifts to the work. Their giving of precious metals, stones, fabrics, yarns, wood and such is so overwhelming that the workmen ask that they be told to stop giving.
So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more. (Exodus 36:6-7)
Can you imagine what it would be like if God’s people were so generous that their beneficiaries had to ask them to stop giving for a while? The Bible uses the word “tithe” to describe the regular gift for the people to make to the work of the Lord. “Tithe” is an old English word that means “a tenth.” For the Hebrews, it was a law, a mandate, and so they were required to give a tenth of their “gross” income. The Old Testament idea was, “1/10 for the Lord, 9/10 for me.”
As Christians, we are called to generous, cheerful giving. We are not under the Law, so the tenth is no longer a mandate. That said, when Jesus speaks of the Law He teaches that seeking to live in basic compliance to the minimum requirements of the Law reveals a heart that is not okay (check out what He says of murder and adultery in the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:21-22; 27-30).
Jesus bought us with His blood, and our heart, mind, body, soul and stuff are all His – every bit of us. In that light, the “tithe”, a tenth, ought to be the floor of our giving. Here’s the question again: Can you imagine what it would be like if God’s people were so generous that their beneficiaries had to ask them to stop giving for a while? Hmmm.
in Him, Mike