Ultimately, everything belongs to God. He blesses us, and then expects us to bless others. It’s interesting to look at some of the Old Testament passages about giving a portion of everything to the Lord in view of how that might apply to us today.
First, we’ll look at Leviticus 27:30-33: “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” (How do we use what God gives us? Selfishly, or unselfishly? Do we ask Him how He wants us to use what He gives us?) “If a man redeems (wants to buy back) any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it.” (It can cost us in blessings to hold onto, or try to take back, what we are called to give away. Do we really let go of what we feel called to give away?) “The entire tithe of the herd and flock–every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod–will be holy to the Lord. He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.” (If we try to hang on to what God calls us to sacrifice, we could lose what we tried to hang onto plus more.)
Next, we’ll look at Numbers 18:26-29: The Lord, via Moses, instructs the Levites to give a tenth of what they receive as a tithe. Verse 29 says, “You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.” (Do we give the Lord our best in everything, or does He get the left-overs?)
Finally, we’ll look at Deuteronomy 12:11-14 & 19: The people are told to bring their “burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the Lord. And there rejoice before the Lord your God…” ( Do we come before the Lord with a rejoicing heart, as we offer everything to Him that is on our heart to offer? Are we willing to offer sacrificially our “choice possessions”? Is there anything in our life that we wouldn’t willingly and cheerfully give away if He asked us to? Do we ask Him to help us to be willing to part with those things?)
Verse 13: “Be careful not to neglect the Levite (pastors, missionaries, etc.) as long as you live.” (Are we careful not to neglect those who are living on the tithes of God’s people? Do we pray about which ministries the Lord wants us to support, and then support them?)
Jesus summed this all up when He told us that whatever we do for “the least of these” we do for Him. (Matthew 25:40) The purest motive anyone can have in helping another is to do it for Jesus. Sacrifice is never easy. But it helps when we remember all that Jesus sacrificed for us. May He help us to follow His example.