Abram returned from defeating the kings who had taken his nephew. Then Melchizedek, priest of God Most High, brought out bread and wine. He blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything he had. –Genesis 14: 18, 19
This is the first instance in Scripture of what we now call the “tithe.” Abram has experienced God’s help and he gives ten percent of all he has out of gratitude. It reminds me a lot of what we do in our worship services. There’s bread and wine brought out by the minister, and after we’ve eaten, we pass the offering plate!
Imagine though how novel this was, for someone to actually give 10 percent of their possessions for the upkeep of God’s people and the work of God’s reign. The king of Sodom tried to talk Abram out of it. But Abram knew where his loyalties lay.
It’s still novel today, this tithe concept. Very few of us who say God is number one in our lives actually do what Abram did. Can you imagine if we all did? People around us would think we were crazy. One Chrsitan writer says: “If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter. The world says, follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, follow me and be crucified. The world says, get, and Jesus says, give. In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is as crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than a delusion.” (Frederick Buechner)
Are you giving enough away to be considered a little crazy?