Do you know why you tithe, why you offer the firstfruits to The Lord? I think it is important to know the reason behind the actions we take. Blind worship leads to worshipping who you do not know. And I’ll be honest, up to now, the reason I have tithed has been because it is a commandment and I am showing my faith and obedience to God by trusting Him to be my God. But today, I realize that is not the main reason the Lord wants us to give Him our firstfruits. We are supposed to give to Him with a certain attitude. Verses 1-4 read,
When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, 2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. 3 And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4 Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God.
The first part of our response to God is an acknowledgement that God has saved us and brought us into The Promised Land. We give to Him, because He gave to us. The Promised Land is the eternal life the Lord gave us, it is the new life in Christ. Whatever work we do from the point of salvation on is for Him, for the Kingdom of God. Our jobs, our family life, our church life, and our recreational life all take on new purposes to glorify God. The result of our work, the fruit is God’s. We acknowledge it is He who does the sowing, the reaping, the saving, the healing, the transforming, and everything else and that we are given the honor of being the vehicle of His hands. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reads,
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
The reason we give our firstfruits to God is in response of what He has given us and who He has made us to be. Verses 5-11 read,
And you shall make response before the Lord your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. 6 And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. 7 Then we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8 And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. 9 And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. 11 And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you.
Are you the same person you were when you were saved? I hope not. God took you and sanctified you, He set you apart like He set Abraham apart. He took you out of slavery, through suffering, and brought you to eternal life. He miraculously saved you. Each time we give, we respond to God and say, “You gave me all this, you saved me, you transformed me, so I am giving back to you the firstfruits of your harvest.” Tithing is a joyful experience. God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 reads,
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
Sharing the fruits of labor with those who need it is a reason to feast with them. God did not give us our money and provision for us alone. He gave it to us, the Levite (who represents the church and clergy), and the sojourner, the wanderer who has not yet made it home. He gave us all He has so that we can be generous to the poor, the church, the lost, and so that we could enjoy it too. Verses 12-16 read,
When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, 13 then you shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. 14 I have not eaten of the tithe while I was mourning, or removed any of it while I was unclean, or offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God. I have done according to all that you have commanded me. 15 Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel and the ground that you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.’
When we give, we are supposed to make sure we have already dealt with the sin in our lives. God doesn’t want the tithes of the lost. He doesn’t need their money. When they give it is out of self-veneration not worship to God. When we give, it is not to make us good. It is not a guilt offering. It is because God made us righteous, because we were cleansed by Jesus blood, and indwelled with the Holy Spirit. God does not forgive sins because we give; we give because He forgave our sins. And He tells us to ask for blessings when we give! Seriously! We don’t give because He will bless, but He does bless us when we give with the right attitude and reasons.
Giving our firstfruits is our response to The Lord for giving us His firstfruits. He gave His only begotten Son, so we could become His sons and daughters. He imbued us with His Nature. He made us new. He brought us out of slavery, through suffering in the wilderness, to eternal life. He gave us everything and we respond to Him by giving back the first and the best. We acknowledge it is not ours and not for us alone. It is His and for His glory, to make Him known. Yes, we do it because He commanded we do it, but we do it knowing the reason and purpose. Verses 16-19 read,
This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared today that the Lord is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice. 18 And the Lord has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, 19 and that he will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.
Believer, you are God’s treasured possession. He has made you holy as He is holy. You are meant to stand out in the world because of your love, devotion to the Lord, and your faith. Giving Him His tithe shows the world how great He is, how cherished you are and beloved they are.
The tithe is more than something we do each paycheck; it is a joyful response to the Lord for who He is and who He has made you to be. It provides for the poor and for the clergy. It shows your faith and proves you are adored by The Lord. It gives people a picture of salvation and makes The Lord known. Believer, I encourage you, the next time you put your check in the plate, or click “pay now” for your tithe to remember who God is and who He has made you. I encourage you to prayerfully acknowledge your gratitude and awareness of the miracle of salvation. I encourage you to remember your money and provision are not for you alone. It is for you, the church, the sojourner, the widow, the poor, and the orphan. It is for God’s work and He has given you the honor of participating in it. Let it be a celebration for God’s fame and glory.