Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Privilege of Giving

I have found the practice of the tithe to be a great freedom. It is, almost, a sacrament: a reminder, through something I do, of a spiritual truth: that I am not dependent on myself to "make ends meet." I must rely on God. ("You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today" (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).)

Similarly with the Sabbath rest: it is a kind of sacrament: a reminder, through something I do (or, in that case, perhaps, something I don't do--work on one day out of seven), that it is not through my labors that I can be sure to "have enough"; rather, it is by God's gracious provision that I can provide for my family. --This has been the confession of God's people through the ages (I Samuel 2:7; I Chronicles 29:12; etc.). This is what Jesus taught:

"[W]hy do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:28-34).

Anyway. I originally titled this post as "How Much Should We Give?" . . . But I keep finding myself "sidetracked" a bit here and there. I seem to find I need to give little personal/philosophical background pieces so you understand where I'm coming from.

I began with the idea of talking about how much we should give. But then I got onto the subject I just talked about. And I wound up, just now, realizing I don't even like the phrase, How much should we give? Far more, I just realized, I think I prefer, How much can we give?. . . . Because I think I am actually coming to the latter way of thinking. It really is not about how much I should give. More and more, I am finding myself thinking about how much I can give . . . how much I get to give . . . how much I have the privilege of giving.

How many other people in all the world could give as much as I? Not many! I am privileged to have wealth and to live in a wealthy land. I am privileged to be made aware of needs around the world. How many people in all the world are so privileged?

Not many!

So let me make the most of the privileges God has given me.

blog comments powered by Disqus