Week 46 Monday

Routine Giving

Today’s scripture selection: Deuteronomy 13-15

Key verses: Deuteronomy 14:28-29

“At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”

In our society, generous “giving” is often seen as something especially good; a little “over the top” and praiseworthy.

More routine is the idea that we keep a tight grip on what we own – and do all we can to get even more.

But in the world of those who had been miraculously freed from bondage in Egypt by God – the ones Moses led across a desert to the Promised Land – giving was to be, well, routine.

There was a planned program for it.  Not a welfare-state program – but a clear, faith-based kind of program (to use today’s language).

The people were expected to set aside a tenth of what God had richly given to them.  And they were, like clockwork, expected to care for others less blessed than they.

There weren’t forms to be filled out; qualifications to be met; lines to stand in.

There was just a spirit of gratitude at work in the form of being charitable.

It even went so far as establishing a periodic “debt forgiveness” program that allowed people to make a fresh start of things.

It’s too bad that we seem to have gotten so far away from this attitude of generosity – a bunch of former slaves gratefully looking out for those who still suffer in bondage of some sort – including financial bondage.

I’m not an expert (by a long shot) on matters of economic policy.  But I do think it is well worth noting that a long time ago the people of God did something just like clockwork.

They gave to those in need.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be a generous and cheerful giver; full of gratitude.  AMEN.




By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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