Generous Giving 

"There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks."  Deut 12:6

How much do we need to give to God? This verse lists the different types of offerings that the Israelites made in the Old Testament. The first was the burnt offering. The person making the offering had to place his hand on the head of the animal indicating that the animal was a substitute for the person himself. The animal was completely burnt signifying the total surrender of the individual to Yahweh. That should be our first step in giving to God too. Before we consider our financial responsibilities to God, we need to recognize that God wants us, not our money. We need to surrender ourselves completely to God.

The next were the sacrifices for sin and guilt offerings. The purpose of these offerings was to atone for sins that a person committed, thus maintaining their relationship with Yahweh that was established by the burnt offering. Our relationship with God is more important to Him than anything that we could give Him.

It is only after one’s relationship with God has been set right that the other kinds of offerings become relevant. When we have a relationship with God, we give him our tithes, special gifts and freewill offerings.

Some people question the role of the tithe in the New Testament and in an urban economy, but one of the principles of the Sermon of the Mount is that under the new covenant God expects us to do more than what was required by law, not less. In the Old Testament, the tithe was used to sustain the workers in the Temple and for the welfare of the weak and underprivileged in Israel. So, we must give not just to the church, but also to people in need. We give tithes as a recognition that all we have belongs to God and the tithe is a return on the investment God has made in us.

After giving the tithe, we give freewill offerings and thank offerings that express our love for God. Since these are emotional offerings there is no stipulation on how much to give. What we give over and above our tithe, expresses our love for God and our gratefulness to God. If we keep to the bare minimum and just give the tithe alone, that shows that we have no gratefulness to God nor any real love for Him. 

This list shows that in the Old Testament, people gave a lot more than a tithe in the worship of Yahweh. They gave out of love and with a generous heart to God.

How generous has been your own giving to God?