Exodus 22:29–30 “You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.”
Observation: This passage comes under the heading of “laws concerning civil and religious obligations,” particularly relating to how God’s people were to handle their finances.
Application: God is manifestly serious about expecting me to give the first fruits of whatever I have, whether it is children, animals, crops, income or time. In this passage is the sense of command (you shall not delay, the firstborn of your sons you shall give to me, you shall, you shall). There is also the requirement of immediacy (you shall not delay).
God considers the gift of my first fruits to be holy, which doesn’t seem to leave much room for negotiation. But Lord! I have been laid off and cannot pay the rent this month. But Father, my earnings are so meager I don’t know how I will put food on the table. But Lord, You know how desperately we need that vacation. On and on it goes.
What is not scriptural in the slightest sense is the oft-heard encouragement to “just begin by giving what you can. If you cannot give the full tithe, then start with just two or three percent.” How shall God ever be put to the test of Malachi 3:10 if I do not bring the whole tithe and all required offerings into the storehouse? How can I ever hope to rely upon God’s provision if I have not thrown my needy self at His feet by obeying His commands in the matter of giving?
The kingdom doesn’t work this way: “I hear you God; I know what You have said, but I will not do so this month. However, I do look forward to Your great blessings.” Hogwash! He established the pattern by giving for me His only Son; how shall I excuse myself from following His model?
No excuse, no perceived lack or shortfall can be a reason for withholding my gifts to the Lord. I must do what He has already done.
Prayer: Lord, You have modeled lavish generosity in Your gift to me; cause my heart to respond by overflowing with generosity in return. Make me quick to give.