I bet you’ve never heard a sermon on Deuteronomy 14:22, 25-26:
“You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year …then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household” (NASB).
We’re continuing our study of pleasure, and Gary Thomas in his book, Pure Pleasure, draws our attention to those verses. He writes, “I’ve never heard a preacher tell the congregation to save even part of their tithe and use it to go to an expensive restaurant, order filet mignon and a fine wine.” (pg 80).
Of course, Gary balances this by saying we need to give our tithe to the church, etc, but he does find it interesting, and so do I, that the Lord in His Word encourages us to enjoy a part of the tithe for whatever we want! (Hmm, I will try to resist going to the jewelry store. Hey! God did say “whatever your heart desires!”)
Gary’s point: “Do you see how selectively we emphasize certain passages about duty, sacrifice, and obligation while almost completely denying corresponding passages that talk about celebrating, having fun, and even throwing a party?” (pg 81).
He continues, “It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give sacrificially. It does mean we can and should acknowledge the role of reverent pleasure, realizing that God created us to enjoy pleasure and that receiving such pleasure is, in God’s mind, an act of worship.” (pg 81).
Gary’s ideas continue to challenge me because I’m all about duty, sacrifice, and obligation. Maybe God is saying to me, “Lighten up! Have some fun! Enjoy!”
Is He saying something similar to you?
Again, I recommend Gary’s book for your reading pleasure!