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Giving at least one-tenth began early

September 26, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Genesis 14:18-20, 28:22, Exodus 25:1-2

Genesis 14
18 Now Melchizedek the king of Salem and the priest of El Elyon [or God Most High] had brought bread and wine, 19 and he blessed him,
“Bless Abram by El Elyon,
        creator of heaven and earth;
20 bless El Elyon,
        who gave you the victory over your enemies.”
Abram gave Melchizedek one-tenth of everything.

Genesis 28
22 This stone that I’ve set up as a sacred pillar will be God’s house, and of everything you give me I will give a tenth back to you.”

Exodus 25
1 The LORD said to Moses: 2 Tell the Israelites to collect gift offerings for me. Receive my gift offerings from everyone who freely wants to give.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

DO YOU KNOW?
This week’s GPS continues to focus on the Bible reasons for Resurrection’s current “Generation to Generation” campaign. For more information as you prayerfully consider what commitment you want to make next weekend, click here.
You are also invited to a prayer vigil today at all Resurrection locations. To sign up, click here. If you’re not in town, you can use this Zoom link and the password RES at 6 p.m. Central time this evening.

The idea of giving at least one-tenth to God began early. Abram (later Abraham) defeated raiders who’d taken his nephew and gave 10% of what he gained from them in thanks to God. God met Jacob in a dream, and Jacob, too, pledged to give back 10% of everything to God. What does tithing look like today? “United Methodists value the tithe as a benchmark for giving, one we encourage our members to move toward and, once achieved, move beyond.” *

  • Do you determine what you give to your local church as a percentage of your income (not just what you happen to have handy), with 10% as a baseline goal? If yes, great. Reflect on your reason(s) for tithing. If not, how can you shift your financial giving to the congregation that nurtures your relationship with God to a percentage of income basis, or increase the percentage? What could you sacrifice to enter into this practice?
  • We’d like to think our hard work and innate talent are the sole reason for all our achievements. Our culture often suggests we say, “I earned it; I made it happen; it’s mine.” But Biblical history said that when Israel forgot “the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 8:11-18) as the ultimate source of human talent and energy, spiritual (and then military) failures followed. How easy or hard do you find it to remember your God as the ultimate source of everything good in your life?
Prayer

 Lord Jesus, keep my mind from fixating on what I don’t have, on my disappointments and pains. Nurture in me a heart of gratitude for the good things with which you enrich even my hardest days. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann serves as the Care Coordination Director for the churchwide Care Central department at Church of the Resurrection.

Giving can often be a real challenge.

For some people, especially those who have faced financial hardship and struggled to feed their family or pay their rent, there is always a concern that they could end up back in a similar situation. For others, it may be a fear of the unknown: Not knowing what life circumstances may come up, they fear being caught unable to cover unforeseen expenses. Sometimes, the reluctance to give is based on previous experiences where money was given for a specific cause and those funds were mishandled. And, in some cases, giving simply hasn’t been taught.

Growing up, on Sunday morning, I saw my parents write a check to the church, put their names on the little offering envelope, and tuck the check inside. When the offering time came, they would hand me the envelope to place in the offering plate as it was passed.

Being a typical kid, I had questions about why we gave money to the church, what the church did with the money, and how we knew how much to give. They patiently answered my questions, explaining their decisions on giving and the Biblical teachings on the subject. The answers to those questions reinforced the message from Matthew 25–Jesus saying, “I needed clothes, and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me.”

I cherish that memory. Putting our envelope in the plate made me feel connected to something bigger. Along with the dollar they gave me for my Sunday school offering, I was excited about what our family was doing to help other people and take care of our church.

As our kids got old enough to take in information about the annual stewardship sermon series or a building campaign, they asked if we ever gave money to the church. Suddenly, we realized that we had failed to really talk about our giving. We gave them their offering for Sunday school and let them know what the focus was for the kid’s offering each month, but as far as “big church” went, we hadn’t really had those critical conversations. As we talked about how could have missed that parenting piece, I realized that there were no checks being written, no envelopes dropped in collection plates. You see, our electronic giving was so efficient our kids never even saw it happen.

As great as online giving is, it can easily take away amazing learning opportunities for families. The discussions that didn’t happen weren’t just the ones about how much we give, and why, but other conversations as well. Not talking about why we give also means that we probably don’t talk about how we trust God to take care of us if we have tough times. We are missing opportunities to chat about how we can support others and how we might receive support if we were to have financial struggles, or how we can budget and prepare for not-so-great surprises that might come up.

But most of all, we have an obligation to teach the next generations about the joy of generosity. The blessing that comes with giving, knowing that you are part of something bigger. Showing them what it means to trust God to care for our family, how we can show His love to others, and passing on those Biblical teachings that have been around for centuries.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References