This week, Rob offered us some thoughts on money, stewardship, and first fruits giving. Giving of course can be a tense topic, especially where we have seen much abuse by institutions asking for, demanding, and misusing resources.
Rob reminds us more broadly that how we use our money ties to our core values. Jesus had a lot to say about money—how we horde money, how we exploit others with money, how we view the world out of scarcity, how we should seek economic justice, and how we should live in a community that cares for each other with money, with mutual aid in a way that cares for others as ourselves (and that’s just some of it!).
Looking at Deut 26:1-15, Rob encouraged us to develop a posture of gratitude, a gratitude that we can have together. The Israelites rehearsed their gratitude. They dwelled on all that God had done for them, God’s faithful acts of deliverance, and it is out of this gratitude that they gave of their first fruits. That is, they give out of their thanksgiving and in response. Their giving was not what ever they might have left over out of obligation.
Do we live according to an economy together where we share out of gratefulness because of what God has done for us, rather than the economy of scarcity that the world teaches? Do we give gratefully to the one with less in their need so that there are no needy among us (Acts 4:34)? Do we promote economic justice? Do we thank God for what we have, knowing that what we have is meant to be shared like Jesus blessing the loaves and fishes and feeding the 5,000 plus? Those last questions were questions that came to mind for me, but Rob left us with three good questions for us to ponder this week as well:
- What are some ways in which giving our financial offerings forms us as a people?
- Should we expect each other to give a tithe of 10% to the church?
- What do you think Jesus meant by saying give to the emperor the things of the emperor, and give to God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:13-17)?
For convenience sake, there is also a podcast available. You can find that here.