When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.
Tithing. We don’t like to talk about it. It reminds us of the Law. It requires sacrifice. It requires obedience. It requires giving up something that you’ve worked hard for. Entitled. That’s how we often feel.
If we look at the passage above, beyond the numbers and to the heart of the matter, it is to set aside a portion of everything that you harvest and give it to those who don’t have enough. The Levite, religious servants, received nothing and depended on this – God’s provision. Ok, I think we can handle giving to people like this. Now what about the alien, the fatherless the widow (Deut. 27:19), how do we feel about giving to them? It doesn’t seem to matter what we to think about that, right? God says, we do. Pretty simple.
But, now, what about today’s world? How much do we harvest? My family pulled a few bad tasting tomatoes from the garden, a bit of mint leaves and one or two broccoli. Ok, we know that we are no longer agrarian for the most part. What then do we “set aside”? Money. Yes, that’s part of it. But, I wonder if there is more to it. I think that perhaps the intent wasn’t just that we were to give to others. I think it has a lot to do with the time and effort that people sacrificed in order to give to others. It required a value for others that had less. I value them, therefore, I’m willing to work, spend time on and give to them. I think that is the intent. And, in that, relationships are built, a community strengthened.
How to apply this to our life? Well, for my family, as people supported by other’s generosity, we aren’t off the hook – for money or for time/effort sacrifice. Here’s how we will add to our monthly “setting aside”. We will begin highlighting other ministries and people who act like Jesus. What!? Aren’t people in our position supposed to raise as much awareness and support for their families and ministries only? I mean, how many people serving on the field have a completely funded budget? Right, not many. If we look at the passage above, it indicates that in our setting aside we will have to trust that God will provide.
So, we will begin “tithing” (10% or 11.32% for those who avoid anything to do with the law, well some percentage, anyway) of our words to the network of people who support, pray for and encourage us to others who need the same. God is using many people in amazing ways. I think it is worth sharing these as we become aware of them. We should want to see God’s servants fully funded, prayed for and encouraged. I don’t think we should treat our personal ministries as the only thing to talk about. We should trust that if we share about others’ needs, our own needs will still be met. Faith. Trust. Belief.
Starting very soon (no timelines, we have kids y’all), you will start to see posts about other servants of the Most High God. It’s what I feel/know we are supposed to do. I think I’ll call it, “Acting Like Jesus.”
So, will you, our friends, supporters and encouragers, extend yourselves to these others? I hope so. We have been blessed by you as well as by getting to know the other ministries/people we will be highlighting. Let’s see what God will do with this. More importantly, I hope this brings glory to His holy name.