Words from the Weary Wilderness - Lenten Journey Day 35
Day Thirty-Five Monday of Holy Week, April 11
Read: Deuteronomy 26:1-11
First Fruits and Tithes
26 When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, 2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. 3 You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, “Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4 When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, 5 you shall make this response before the Lord your God: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. 6 When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, 7 we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8 The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and 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 So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. 11 Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.
Today’s Word from the Weary Wilderness: “…you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. (Deuteronomy 26:2)
Reflection: We read about tithing elsewhere in the Old Testament, particularly in Malachi. Today’s passage is very specific about the practice of tithing. Our first fruits are required. God is not to get a tip, but a tithe. And our tithe also comes with the proclamation of our story. We share the whole story of our prosperity with God as we give. We thank God for bringing us to where we could give, and we give joyfully. We acknowledge that God has brought us into our own “land of milk and honey.” We set down our gift, thank God for our story, and bow down in God’s presence. This passage is an example of a living doxology. We “praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Do you tithe? Why or why not?
Prayer: God of the Weary Wilderness, in this passage we see a life of faithfulness. We acknowledge that you have not only given us these gifts to share, you have provided the opportunities for us to be in a position to give them. In the words of the anthem, “we give thee but thine own, whatever the gift may be.” It is all yours; every single thing we have comes from your hand. The next time we make an offering, convict us. May we ask, “is this what You deserve? Does this represent all that you have offered me, O Lord?” Speak to our hearts, that we may be faithful to give to you more of what you deserve for all the goodness you have given us. Amen.
Blessings of Peace and Health,
Rev. Beverly B. Coppley
& Chief Missional Strategist