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A Closer Walk

"The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the Lord had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the Lord," Exodus 35:29 NASB. What is a freewill offering?

Basically, a freewill offering would be any offering given above and beyond the tithe. Tithing is offering to God ten percent of all our income. A great place for that tithe to be given is the local church where we worship and serve. " 'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this' says the Lord of hosts, 'if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows'," Malachi 3:10 NASB.

Our Heavenly Father directs us to test Him in this, by giving our tithe, and seeing if He will not pour out for us a blessing until it overflows. Many Christians practice tithing regularly, and no doubt are blessed by their giving. There is a further promise in tithing. " 'Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes'” says the Lord of hosts, Malachi 3:11 NASB. Our Lord will rebuke the devourer for us. The KJV says, “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes...”. Then the fruit of our ground won't be destroyed, neither will our vine in the field cast its grapes.

In Old Testament Israel any offering over and above the tithe, generically speaking, is freewill, because the offering is given of their own freewill. The tithe was considered by them to be more of an obligation, or duty. But there were different types of offerings beyond the tithe: Burnt Offering; Meal, Meat, or Cereal Offering; Sin (or Guilt) Offering; and Peace (or Heave Offering). For our purposes today we will look only at the Peace Offerings. Under this heading there are three different kinds: Thank Offerings, for some unsolicited divine blessing; Votive or Vowed Offerings, if they had made a vow or vowed something to God; and Freewill Offerings, spontaneously presented in worship and praise. Any time we, you and I, offer a gift to the Lord we do it freely, whether the tithe or something other, because we give voluntarily out of gratitude for all our Lord has done for us.

Here is a passage that needs to be included in today's discussion. "But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from Thee, and from Thy hand we have given Thee,” 1 Chronicles 29:14 NASB. These verses, spoken by Israelite King David, are contained in what may be the most beautiful offering prayer ever uttered. The passage is found in 1 Chronicles 29:10-20. For all these things (income and provision) come from You Lord, and from Your hand we have given back to You.

As believers we acknowledge Almighty God as the Owner of everything we have, including ourselves. So when we give to the Kingdom of God, tithing or freewill, we are merely returning to God a portion of what He has already given to us. Here is a story. A man was having ongoing conversations with his Pastor about tithing. Becoming convinced that tithing was something his family should do, he began. His first tithe was fifty dollars. Years passed. God blessed. Now his tithe is five hundred dollars. Coming to the realization of how much this is costing him, and knowing all the other things he could do with that money, he went back to his Pastor and asked if he could give less. His Pastor replied, “No. But we can pray that God would lower your income”.

When we tithe we demonstrate our recognition and acknowledgement of God as owner of everything. Freewill offerings are given out of a heart of gratitude and thankfulness for all our Heavenly Father has done for us.

“The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the Lord had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the Lord,” Exodus 35:29 NASB.

 

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