Set the produce before the LORD your God, bowing down before the LORD your God. Then celebrate all the good things that the LORD your God has done for you and your family -- each one of you along with the Levites and the immigrants who are among you. - Deuteronomy 26:10-11
- By Rev. Jim Cowart
There is a sweet repetition embedded in Moses' instructions to the children of Israel. As he commands them to bring the first portion of their crops to the Lord, he reminds them that this is not a "pound of flesh" to appease some distant deity and to buy divine favor. No, this is a sincere act of gratitude to "the LORD your God." [...]
There is even a party atmosphere in this act of giving back to the Lord. Moses instructs the people to "celebrate all the good things" God has done for them. There is a sense of joy, laughter, and gratitude in giving back that echoes into the New Testament's declaration that "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor 9:7).
Okay, so let's bring this closer to home. How do you give? What is your attitude? Do the words joyful, appreciative, and celebratory come to mind? [...]
The way we give and manage money says a lot about us as people and followers of Jesus. Money management is even given as an indicator of how God can use us for the Kingdom. We read in the Gospel of Luke, "If you haven't been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?" (Luke 16:11). The issue isn't about how much we have but how much we manage what God gives us.
Joyful, celebratory generosity to God is probably one of those things that we all need to practice. And I mean practice in the same sense in which we practice singing, practice baseball, practice the piano. When we practice something, we don't just go through the motions; we do it to get better and better at it. When we practice giving joyfully to God, we will find that we become better and better at it, that even our attitudes will begin to change for the better. As you give to God more and more with a sense of joy and celebration, you'll be well on your way to being a wise and generous manager that God can use.
Saving Grace: Hope-Filled Devotions Along the Way to Financial Well-Being. Abington Press, 2020.