The Covenant Family (3): Our Resources and Tithing
The Covenant Family (3): Resources - All that We Have is His
Deuteronomy 8:6 “Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. 8:7 “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8:8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 8:9 a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 8:10 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. 8:11 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments . . . you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 8:18 “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Our Lenten Spring Training applies to “The Covenant Family.” We need (1) faith, (2) freedom from fear and (3) hunger for God to live out a godly marriage (Eph. 5) and Psalm 128’s picture of the godly family to then end that our children may become olive trees which bear fruit for generations to come (literally thousands of years). The third (final) in this series on the covenant family focuses on our resources and giving (tithing).
By the covenantal cause of God’s blessing, we can pursue growth in our resources, even wealth, in a righteous manner. The promise to Abraham was that he would be “blessed” and be a blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12). God would accomplish this by Abraham’s covenant keeping faithfulness (Gen. 18:19). Abraham provides the first example of faithfulness with his resources by paying a tithe (Heb. ma’aser “tenth”) of his increase to Melchizedek after worshiping with “bread and wine” (Gen. 14:20; cf. Heb 7:4). This lesson of “household faithfulness” was instilled in Jacob who vowed a tithe to God at Bethel (Gen. 28:22).
In the Mosaic administration further development of the principle of the tithe was given (Lev. 27:30), including its use for Levitical support (Num. 18:21ff), for tabernacle/temple support (Deut. 12/14), and care for the poor (widow, orphan, aliens Deut. 14:29). The principle of giving is very plain, it “is the LORD’S; it is holy to the LORD” (Lev. 27:3). If we do not keep this commandment then we are saying: “My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth” (Deut. 8:17). If you do not give ten percent of your income to the Lord, then you do not truly believe that all that you have and all your capacity is a gift from God. The tithe is a sign of your gratitude of what God has given you and it is to be distributed with the knowledge that it is “He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers” (8:18).
Once again, this leads us back to deeper trust, freedom from anxiety, and a hunger for God. Don’t be prideful. Don’t be self-sufficient (Deut. 8:17). Pour your life into the things that honor God, see all your resources from the Lord, and practice giving generously. Tithing becomes a means to regularly refocus your vision, embrace God’s provision, and a demonstration of a faith that seeks first His kingdom and righteousness, believing that all things will be added to us.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more