"If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth." Genesis 28:20-22 (NIV)
Life is complicated. And everyone has a story that documents how complicated their specific life has been. Some lives are more complicated than others. But there are details in everyone's life that seem to contradict their identity and perhaps even their dreams. Few people exemplify this better than Jacob.
Jacob was the younger of twin sons born to elderly parents, Isaac and Rebekah. Once Jacob took advantage of his brother's hunger and gave him a bowl of stew in exchange for his brother's inheritance from his father. Later he tricked his blind father into giving him the blessing that the oldest son was due. Jacob was somewhat of a scoundrel. But Jacob had some experiences that haled him mature.
That is what life does for us - it offers us maturity through our experiences. As Jacob matured, his priorities changes. He was less interested solely in himself and more interested in the One who was his provider.
It's important to remember the source of our provisions. God is our provider and everything we have is made possible by God and actually belongs to God. That understanding makes it very easy to support a place of worship. It also makes it seem reasonable to give one tenth of what we gain back to God.
But that requires a level of maturity that takes time to develop. Until we achieve that kind of maturity we will react to tithing the way small children react to parental admonitions to share their toys and games. We will grasp our possessions more tightly and scream MINE!! As children mature, they become appreciative of the joy of giving and sharing. As we grow up and mature, we, too, become more and more appreciative of giving and sharing. And the more we give and share, the more God provides for us to give and share.
"Dear God: Help me grow so that I may have a giving spirit. Amen."