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.