7 Godly Sins? – the Greed of God
If God insists his followers pay tithes and offerings for His approval, is it Greed?
Song of Trust and Security in God
A Miktam of David.
Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
in whom is all my delight.
Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names upon my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.
David, in Psalm 16 again, begins with a comment, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” While he undoubtedly is referring to a mixture of his moral attributes as well as the blessings he enjoys, this could also be interpreted to refer to financial and material “goods” as well. Or could it? Does that even make sense to claim that we own or possess nothing but God? Do we even own or possess God to begin with? But wait, look at that verse again. It does not claim that we own nothing but God, nor does it claim we own God. He claims he has no (good thing) that exists apart from God. In other words, while he may own things, everything he has was given to him originally by God. Whether it be food, land, money, or even spiritual blessings, David knows everything he has is a gift from God.
This creates in him a spirit of gratitude, which he expresses in this psalm (and many others). He claims he would never trade the true gift: the love of God, for any possession or blessing. He knew the true value of that love. So did his son Solomon, albeit from a different perspective. While David spent much of his life as a poor man, his son Solomon was one of the wealthiest kings of his era. He found out the hard way that wealth is no replacement for love. Real love, whether it be between lovers or between God and humankind, cannot be bought.
Why then, does God ask for material offerings and tithes? Not for His sake. He has no need of money. It is for our sake. We are made to serve something, and if we do not serve God, will give our lives away to something that love us less and will not take care of us. Indeed, Jesus perhaps put it the most plainly in His teaching from the Sermon on the Mount.
Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Greed is essentially the sin of a life lived in the service of money. God commands tithes and offerings to be used to take care of those who work specifically for him, to provide for their food and shelter… and also to provide for the poor, the traveling foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. Tithes and offerings do not show God’s greed, but instead show the way He teaches us the generosity He embodies towards us all.
What do you give on a regular basis, and to whom do you give it?
Where do you see the generosity of God most?
How do you reflect that generosity of God?