Deuteronomy 16:17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.
Here we have another hint as to why God tells us to give Him stuff, and specifically proportional things like a tithe. When we approach it this way, giving should be a reminder of just how much God has blessed us, and should be an occasion for gratitude. We tend to live our lives oblivious to how much God has poured out on us and for us, so being required to give a proportional offering should help us open our eyes. Sadly, we are all too likely to slip into an entitlement mentality and just complain that we don’t have more. That’s no way to enjoy what we have! One particular Internet meme has a good purpose, and that’s the one about “1st World Problems.” By contrasting the things we complain about to the problems of people in poor countries, it points out just how absurd our complaints often are. Much of the time we live like spoiled brats! By giving a tithe, for example, we should be prompted to gratitude that God has supplied 10 times that amount to us. Both psychologists and common sense tell us that “an attitude of gratitude” is a prime component of genuine happiness. Even Paul weighed in on this point. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6)
I fall into complaining about “1st world problems” all too often, but I think I’m getting better about it. Thankfully, the lust for more stuff seems to be abating. I’m in the middle of further training in that right now. The bulb for our projector (that we use for songs in our services) burned out Sunday morning, and we had to make copies of all the songs we used. Because of the absurd cost of a replacement bulb when ordered from Japan, I located a projector with better “specs” online for less than the cost of the bulb, and ordered it. It arrived yesterday, and I spent several hours trying to get it set up. The final conclusion is that because it is designed for a “home theater,” the lens will not focus at the distance from the back of our sanctuary to the front, so it is useless to us and I will have to return it. That was disappointing to say the least, but the the Lord has allowed me to see that this is an issue of degrees of luxury, rather than anything approaching a tragedy. We do need a good projector, but in the mean time we have a good copier! God has provided abundantly in every area, and the better I realize that, the greater my gratitude and joy will be.
Father, thank You for the various lessons You teach us. Help me appropriate them better, so I won’t need so many “refresher courses!” Thank You indeed that I was able to order the projector and have it delivered in the middle of a holiday period. I do ask for wisdom in the return process, and particularly in locating something that will genuinely meet our needs. In the mean time, help me rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as you have told me to do, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!