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Let's Party!

In the presence of the Lord your God...you shall eat the tithe of your grain, your wine, and your oil, as well as the firstlings of your herd and flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. (Deuteronomy 14:23, NRSV)

Most people know the meaning of tithe is 10 percent. In the Bible, it is understood to be 10 percent of your annual income, the yearly yield of the field. It didn't matter if the crops were good or bad, you brought in 10 percent of what you had produced. It was a pretty fair system.

What many people don't know is that the tithe, as described in Deuteronomy, was not a religious tax or legal obligation, but the fixings for a big old-fashioned potluck supper! Every year everyone came together to celebrate what the land had produced. You brought your tithe (or if it was too far to carry, the cash equivalent, which you converted to party supplies when you arrived) and you ate and drank together. In a subsistence economy, harvest and production were worthy of rejoicing!

Along with the music and dancing came the remembrance of a lasting Truth: God provides. Folks may have become excellent at farming and performed animal husbandry at a level that would earn a blue ribbon at the state fair. But when it was all said and done, after the seed was planted, only God could make it grow. And that is what is meant by "fear the Lord your God always." Remember, the source of your provision is not you. It is a providential gift from a loving Creator who gives in abundance all that is necessary for life.

For Focus and Reflection: How can I celebrate God's generosity toward me today?

Prayer: Let my offerings be filled with joy and celebration for what you have given me. Amen.

Community of Prayer Stewardship Devotional
Copyright ©2016 by Bruce A. Barkhauer
Permission to copy & email given by Center for Faith and Giving
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