Thought for the Day by Hannah Lievesley (St Chad’s)
Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you. (Deuteronomy 16:9-10)
The book of Deuteronomy includes lots of rules for living. Many of them were intended only for a particular group of people, in a particular geographical location, at a particular time in history. The food laws, for instance, were often more about hygiene and health in a hot climate than moral edicts. Some rules, however, were intended to endure. They were about our relationship with God and each other. God wanted his people to live lives that were distinctive form their brutal neighbouring nations. He wanted them to become a ‘kingdom of priests’ (Exodus 19) whose distinct way of living – in love of God and obedience to God’s commandments – would set them apart as a living example of God’s justice and blessing in the world.
The Festival of Weeks called God’s people to celebrate what God had done for them by giving a freewill offering back to God in proportion to the blessings they had received from Him. It was about recognising that all good things come from God and of his own do we give him. Importantly, it wasn’t enforced. Rather, it was an invitation to give with a ‘free-will’. It was about offering back to God, in a spirit of celebration and joy, a proportion of the bountiful blessings he had poured out upon his people. This call to give back to God is not something that was specific only to God’s people in ancient Israel, it’s a call to his people in all places and all ages through history. The Apostle Paul encourages the people of the early Christian churches to do the same in order to fund the spread of the gospel. “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income” (1 Cor 16:2). We are called to do the same today.
At St Chad’s, we’ve just come to the end of our Generosity Week when we have all been challenged to review our giving and consider whether what we give is ‘in proportion’ to the blessings we receive from God. What would be ‘proportionate’ giving for you?
- Let’s remember that all good things come from God.
- Let’s rejoice with gratitude the many blessings He pours down upon us.
- Let’s challenge ourselves to give back in proportion to all we have been given.