Scripture: Hebrews 7:1-2 NASB “Cheerful Giving”
“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace.” Hebrews 7:1-2
These Scripture are sometimes used to indicate that we should give ten percent of our income to the church during the church age. Of course, this passage doesn’t say that. It says that Abraham, before the law was given, gave a tenth on one occasion to a priest named Melchizedek. It doesn’t say that he continued to practice tithing and gave a tenth to Melchizedek.
Notice also that Abraham wanted to honor Yahweh because He had helped Abraham wipe out several pagan kings. He gave “a tenth of all the loot” (Gen. 14: 20, Living Bible).
You know if Ed McMahon were to show up on my front porch with one of those gigantic checks, I’d give more than one tenth to God! (Of course, it’d be weird if Ed showed up on my porch since he moved on from this earth several years ago.) Abraham had just had a windfall.
Abraham, in this instance, is not a model of all for our giving today. We rarely derive doctrine from the historical sections of Scripture. This is especially true when God has given us two entire chapters on the subject in 2Corinthians 8 -9. The New Testament never commends ten percent giving. The practice is hardly mentioned at all and only in accounts in the gospels of the Old Testament law or here as an illustration.
Ten percent giving was not the norm under the law anyway. There were three tithes in the Old Testament that totaled about 23 1/3 % giving (cf. Lev. 27:30 and Num. 18:21 for the first tithe, Gen. 14:22-27 for the second tithe, and Gen. 14: 28 – 29 for the third tithe). In the New Testament, if you had two coats, you should give one away (cf. Luke 3:11). That was 50% giving. The poor widow put in all she had (cf. Mark 12:42-44). That was 100% giving. Now we can go back to 2Cor. 8 – 9 to read about grace giving.
We are called to use our brains when we are budgeting. God loves a “cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). So when you give, give with joy.
When you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
If you are able to give 10% of your income with joy, you don’t have to stop. Some people cannot afford to give 10%. They should not feel guilty. Some people can give more than 10%. They should give more than 10%. They are not “off the hook” by just giving 10%.
I think a good guideline is to “stretch but don’t strain.” In other words, don’t give more than you can and neglect your children or leave your bills unpaid. That would not be responsible. But being responsible would mean that you should try to give more and more as you can. Stretch to make it to 10% and then try to go beyond that. Go beyond 10% if you can. God doesn’t look at how big your giving is as much as how big your heart is.
What’s in YOUR wallet?
How much of it can you give to God’s work?
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Taking Off Your Levites