And this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth. Genesis 28:22
This is Jacob’s response after awakening from the dream we call “Jacob’s Ladder.” Jacob was on the run after tricking his dying father, Isaac, and taking his brother’s blessing. Using a stone as his pillow, he found a place to sleep for the night. In his dream, he had a vision of angels coming up and down from heaven via a stairway and God told Jacob the plans and promises He had for him.
The last part of Jacob’s vow is the one that many wrestle with- the concept of the tithe which means the tenth of something. Arguments abound for whether it’s to be 10% exactly or before tax versus after tax, but these debates obscure the real point. Jacob says “and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” Did you catch where the emphasis should be? ALL that YOU, meaning God, give ME.
What ALL has GOD given YOU? Is it a few things? Probably not. We have a generous Lord who gives generously to those He loves. How do you acknowledge God’s generosity? Do you share those gifts by giving back to Him? You might not realize it but Jacob was worshiping God by giving him a tithe. Your giving is an act of worship; a thank you to the almighty Lord for His generosity towards YOU. Don’t you think your gift to our generous God should be generous, too?
To be honest, I have struggled with tithing. My husband and I work hard and although we were willing to give to the church, we did it from the approach of “what do we have left over” for many years. However when we changed from “left over” thinking to an “act of worship”, our focus shifted and our commitment increased. Our stewardship giving became a way to joyfully and generously give back to God what He so generously gave to us.
Holy Lord. Thank you for ALL the generous and beautiful gifts You have given all of us. Bless all that read these words. Let them hear in Jacob’s vow a pathway that leads to a generous life in close union with You. Let them always feel Your reassuring presence and Your generous love for each of them. Amen.
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