I remember the first time I went to a church where they made you stand up and walk to the front to put your tithe in the bucket. I was flabbergasted. There was no way to hide! If you were the only one left sitting in your seat, you’d best believe everyone else would be cutting their eyes at you, shaking their heads and tsk-tsk-ing.
I thought that was bad enough. Then I took a trip to a church in Mexico.
Y’all, in one church service the elder straight up asked for people to give – and wouldn’t sit down until they did! He was like, “And who can give 1,000 pesos? 1,000 pesos? How about 750?” It was like an auction. Honestly, though, it worked, because even I ended up giving some measly 300 pesos.
Speaking of peer pressure(?), the tribes of Israel were all giving money in this chapter, only this time it wasn’t their regular tithe. This was an offering for the dedication and consecration of the temple. Those are the kinds of offerings a lot of us skip out on today, but for the Israelites? No one was exempt.
Each and every tribe brought a silver plate and a silver sprinkling bowl worth two hundred shekels, enough flour and olive oil to fill them to the brim, a gold dish worth ten shekels, enough incense to fill it to the brim, one bull, six rams, six lambs, and six goats.
It almost seems like more when you read it, because each individual offering from each individual tribe is listed out in careful detail, so scrolling through you’re like Dang. Were the Israelites loaded?
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
I mean, everyone gave the same thing. No excuses. No exceptions. No “next times”. No monthly payment plans. Everyone gave all that money, all that food, and all of those animals.
If you think about it, it seems unfair, or at the very least weird, right? These days people are fighting for the opposite of that. We want some tribes – or tax brackets – to give more than others. Everyone can’t afford to give the same amount! Why would we try to make them?
And taxes aside, don’t we all just deserve a pass sometimes?
Almost all of my bills are due this week, so I mean, tithe can wait. God will understand!
And I gotta eat! I’ll just give a little less to God this month. It’s not a big deal. I can’t starve.
Or maybe I’m just saving up for a trip or a car or a phone. God knows my needs. I’ll hit Him up next month.
Seems reasonable – but God doesn’t seem to agree. At least not based off of this chapter.
Weren’t some of the Israelite tribes a little hard-pressed? Maybe the tribe of Manasseh had fewer working men and thus less resources. Or maybe the tribe of Dan had just had to pay for a funeral and was running low on precious metals. Or maybe the tribe of Naphtali had a lot of families who were struggling to take care of all their kids and couldn’t contribute!
Yet without negotiating, without excuses, everyone gave the exact same thing.
And it makes sense, because they all serve the exact same God.
They were all fed by the same God. They were all clothed by the same God. They all had breath in their lungs because of the same God. They all had strength to get up in the morning because of the same God. They had all been rescued from slavery in Egypt because of the same God. They all had their sins forgiven over and over and, yes, over, because of the same God.
We don’t get to take breaks from giving tithe and offering because God never takes a break from giving life.
But this isn’t just about our hard-earned paychecks. It’s about our entire lives.
It’s about how we skip church some mornings because we had a long week and we’re dead tired.
It’s about how we cut out our evening devotions because work was tough and all we want is to curl up in front of Netflix (guilty).
It’s about how we skip our church’s outreach event because it’s been tough lately and we just don’t feel like it.
We can’t keep making these excuses. Obedience to God isn’t optional. Spending time with God isn’t optional. Loving God isn’t optional.
We can’t take breaks from our Savior.
God’s Message: “Glorify Me.”
It almost feels mean and snippy and ignorant of all that’s good and self-caring to write those words. But that’s because I don’t love God the way I should. If I make excuses and slack off in my commitment in any relationship – whether it be with a friend, a family member, or a significant other, that’s a sign that the passion isn’t there. The fire isn’t there. The love isn’t there.
The same is true when we do that to Jesus. We’re falling out of love. And that can’t happen.
Because friends change, but God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Family dynamics shift, but Jesus promised never to leave us or forsake us. We break up with our boyfriends or girlfriends, but God loves us with an everlasting love.
We can’t afford to lose hold of that love. We can’t afford to push Him away. So what are we going to do about it? How do we fall back in love?
I think about that a lot. And so far this is what I’ve got: spend more time with Him. Be honest with Him – about everything. Pray constantly. Study everything in His word and the words of His prophets.
Don’t make excuses.
Don’t slack off.
Because this love is worth it.
What do you think? In what areas are we not giving God enough? How do we fall back in love with Jesus? Comment what you think below, and don’t forget to share!