I was contemplating what tithing really is. I did a quick search (for the image for this article) and stumbled upon a well thought-out blog series on tithing (which I now highly recommend you read as well as this article!).
The strange idea that came to me in the shower was that God required sacrifices in a way that benefited no one. Cain and Able came to mind - the first biblically recorded sacrifice by man to God. Both brothers literally destroyed a part of the fruit of their own labor, benefiting no person at all. We know from Jasher and Jubilees that Eve had conceived sons and daughters by that time so there were other people to give to besides mom and dad. We also know from Jasher that God accepted Abel's sacrifice with a blast of fire from the sky, not unlike Elijah's sacrifice on Mount Herman before the priests of Baal.
I thought "what a clever way for God to arrange for our gifts to not possibly cause corruption".
We know that God "looks at the heart" and we also know that God "owns all things". We don't live in a zero-sum game where if I don't give something to God, then others will not get their blessings due to an "empty storehouse". God can bless us all abundantly right where we are even if nobody else does anything good. I know this is true because we live in an environment that so abundantly provides us with food, energy, warmth, and raw materials to make anything out of we want. All these things come either from God or from people pursuing their own best interests. As I see it, most of us, with today's tools and modern efficiencies of communication and engineering should only need to work maybe one day a week to sustain life. It's all the redistribution of wealth by taxes and other scams that eats up all the resources and showers them on unproductive parts of society.
Also consider what Baal worship is. Baal just means Lord and Baal worship is the worship of wealth and prosperity. It's a kind of "whatever works" attitude that produces selfish and unloving hearts. Its the kind of "payoff" mentality that causes people to cast their children in the fire to appease the Gods. Baal worship is generally very profitable. Everyone loves a "winner". Baal worship is the mutual taking from each other, a kind of theft reciprocity. Not unlike a couple that marries to "use" each other until such time as the profit of the relationship ceases, at which time, the marriage is dissolved.
Now I, like anyone, would love to think that by giving a full 10% tithe or more to my local church, I would enable God to "bless" me with compensating wealth. I have believed this many times in the past and sometimes, it has seemed to work, but the motive never felt pure to me. Giving to get is just playing games with God. Giving to bless others is perhaps more "upright" a motive but giving just to give is probably the highest form of motivation because it takes nothing back, either directly or indirectly.
True sacrifice these days would be to take your filthy "unjust measure" of inflated, unbaked fiat currency and just burn it in the back yard! Hey, that would fight inflation wouldn't it?
Cain was so pissed when God did not accept his "gift" that he killed his brother. This is the raw heart of man. We are just selfish bastards and do almost everything to either look good to others or get back something - even from God.
How many Christians make loans to people without interest? That is called for in scripture!
How many Christians give directly to the poor, not to some scam charity that may or may not deliver it? This is called for in scripture!
How many Christians sacrifice their first-born of their flocks on an alter? This is called for in scripture (though I would agree, it may not apply these days - but would be infinitely better, I think, than giving it to say Joel Olstein)!
God loves us - whether or not we give. He loved us while we were yet sinners and He still does and we still are!
This is not to say that selfishness is better. It is to say, don't play games with God by expecting a pay-back for doing works in the flesh. He doesn't necessarily work that way and it's not the right motivation to give.
Give because you are alive and breathing in the most amazing world of wonder. Give because the sun rose again this day and let you live another day of this challenging, yet unique and educational life. Give because there is a true need you can fill. Give because God gave you so much ALREADY that you cannot hold it in. Give despite your crappy circumstances, your failing health, your small account balance and your urge to blow it on yourself. Give because God is good and we are not.
Remember that widow that gave her last mite? Jesus thought that was pretty special. Not only did she not expect anything in return, not only was her gift so small that she could gain no pride from giving it, not only was it the last of what she had and saw no future for herself, it was just done because it was the right thing to do and it was in her heart to die to herself and live to God.
Yes I want God's blessing! I really want it bad, cuz I could lose my ranch which is all I have left to show for a lifetime of work. But God gives and God takes away. Blessed be the name of YAWH (and not me)!