Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.” And they said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.” (ESV Ge 47:23-25)
While this passage isn’t about the tithe that the Christian gives to the Lord, it gives a good picture of it. Back in the day of Joseph, there was a seven year famine in the land and Joseph, who was in charge of all Egypt, was the only one with food. All the people came to him to buy food. When they were out of money they sold their livestock for food. When they were out of money and livestock they sold themselves and their land to Egypt. These verses explain how Joseph handled them. He gave them seed and charged them to farm the land. One fifth shall be given to Pharaoh and they are to use the remaining amount for their own provisions. This was a good arrangement and the people were more than willing to abide. It was very gracious of Joseph to grant them such privilege, given they and their land belonged to him to do with as he pleased.
The Lord asks a tenth of His people and we often bristle at that, not wanting to part with it. The trouble is, we have his view that it is our money rather than the Lord’s. After all, it is the Lord who gave us skills and experiences and contacts that led to the jobs we have. It is the Lord’s trees that our paper money is printed onto with ink produced from the Lord’s plants and minerals. All that we have is not ours. We are merely stewards of it on behalf of the Lord. Yet, we forget this. What helps in giving the tithe is knowing that God is gracious and generous to us. He is for us and not against us and His plans are for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
When do you find it hard to give a tithe to the Lord?
Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: Ge 46-47, Ps 28