Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. — Deuteronomy 14:22
The year 2018 is important for Israel and the Jewish people as we celebrate the modern State of Israel’s 70th Birthday. You can be part of this momentous milestone with Rabbi Eckstein’s 70 devotions offered now through April 19, Israel’s Independence Day. These devotions are tied to our Keys to Israel – six fundamental principles underlying God’s covenantal relationship with His chosen people and His Holy Land using the acrostic I.S.R.A.E.L.
This devotion is part of ten devotions focusing on the letter “R” — Righteous Giving — and will explore the commandment God gave to His people as they entered the Promise Land to care for the poor and the oppressed.
There is a story about an ambitious young man who tells his pastor that he has promised to tithe his income. Together, the pastor and the man pray for God to bless his career. At that time, the man was making $40 a week and contributed $4 to the church. As time went by, the young man became increasingly successful to the point where he was tithing $500 a week. At that point, the man called up the pastor to see if he could be released from his tithing promise as it was too costly now. The pastor replied, “I don’t see how you can be released from your promise, but we can ask God to reduce your income back to $40 a week, then you'd have no problem tithing $4.”
God judges what we give by what we keep.
In this verse from Deuteronomy, we are commanded to give away at least 10 percent of what we earn. Jewish tradition teaches that we should give away more than that – up to 20 percent of our earnings (but no more). While that may seem difficult and counter-productive to someone trying to make ends meet, the Jewish sages offer this encouragement: Those who want to become wealthy should tithe their money! The sages add that it’s impossible to become poor from giving to charity. On the contrary, they say, the more you give your money away, the more you receive.
How can that be true?
A prestigious man was once asked how he could give away so much money to charity and yet still be so wealthy, and this is what he replied: “Oh, as I shovel it out, He shovels it in, and the Lord has a much bigger shovel!”
When God sees that we use our money to help others, He blesses us with more. Our contributions are essentially our best investments. Perhaps this is what the verse in Proverbs 22 means when it says, “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor” (v.9). So in actuality, even more than the rich man is helping the poor man, the poor man is helping the rich man – because he gives him an opportunity to help himself and earn great rewards.
Friends, we are so grateful for all the contributions that so many Christians from around the world have contributed to the many purposes of The Fellowship. We pray that as you bless Israel, God will bless you. We trust that, whatever you give to help others will be returned to you with the Lord’s much bigger shovel — and enable you to give even more!
Join the celebration and get the entire Keys to I.S.R.A.E.L. curriculum for free — for you, your small group, or even your church.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President