Speaking of Life

Pay What You Want

So often, we simply give what’s expected instead of giving what we actually value.

(2.4 minutes)
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Joseph Tkach

Joseph Tkach has been president of Grace Communion International since 1995. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. For more information about him, click here.

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I was at my favorite coffee shop last week, when I noticed something a little out of the ordinary. It was an old cigar box next to the cash register. Inside, I saw a lot of different things – a few keys, some coins from a couple different countries, and even an old harmonica. As I reached for my wallet the cashier stopped me. He said that the shop had adopted a new payment structure. I could pay whatever I wanted for my drink.

This policy had unleashed a flood of creativity and allowed customers to not just pay for their drinks, but to give little pieces of themselves in the process.

It reminded me of a principle we often talk about in the church: tithing. What struck me is that while we’re quick to point to money as the currency of the offering plate, the kingdom of God is much more creative than that. So often, we simply give what’s expected instead of giving what we actually value. We reach for our wallets when what God really wants is a tithe from what we truly value most, whether that’s our time, our talent, or our possessions.

In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon offers the following advice: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops” (Proverbs 3:9).

In Hebrew that word “firstfruits” actually meant “the first of the first fruits.” In that culture, it specifically related to agriculture, as the ancient Hebrews would offer the best of their yearly crop yield to God as their offering. But today, this principle can take many different forms. There are many different ways to give at your church. What do you have an abundance of?

I want to encourage you to think deeply about what you value and where that might be needed in the kingdom of God. We have so much more to give than money, and when we truly offer God the first of our firstfruits, we don’t just bless those around us, we bless him as well.

I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.

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