As believers in the course of our journey of faith we must have heard about tithing,its meaning,methods and outcome.Among its various approaches we shall learn about a SPECIAL TITHE not commonly discussed about nowadays,some call it the Poor tithe,but i prefer calling it the Special tithe of Love or simply the Tithe of Love:You must have seen the women,men and children on the streets,for one reason or another they found themselves begging on the streets of some of the major cities in the world,on top of being on the streets most of them have some infirmity of sought;either crippled(wholly or partially),blind(totally or partially), or having open wounds among others.You can imagine their plight when it rains and everyone is scampering for shelter.Do you think the hunger pangs or the biting cold felt by these families is any different from what you or your kids at home may feel.When their kids cry out of want ,out there on the streets,the tears they shed don’t you think are similar to what your kids shed when in need ,which prompts you to do anything possible to address it.Apart from these families we see on the streets how many more people are silently languishing in need in our villages out of circumstances beyond their control,how many orphans,widows and widowers sleep hungry in the same locale we are in.If obtaining education is a pipe dream to them ,how many of them die prematurely out of curable ailments probably caught out of poor shelter or clothing if not inadequate meals, simply because they couldn’t afford the required medication no matter how inexpensive it is. When God saw the plight of these people,He considered it,He converted it into a blessing for both the needy and the lovingly obedient believers by decreeing that; “Every third year you must bring the tenth part of your produce from that year and leave it at your city gates. Then the Levites, who have no designated inheritance like you do, along with the immigrants, orphans, and widows who live in your cities, will come and feast until they are full. Do this so that the Lord your God might bless you in everything you do.” (Deuteronomy 14:28-29) .This He said so that the next time you hear that ‘beating of the cup’,see those blind eyes,see that stretched out hand or see those ‘homes’ or hear about that ‘person’ you will realise its a God’s instituted chance of spreading love and receiving His blessings in all what we do if we obey.This is a chance of speaking the universal language called Love,which is understood by all no matter the race,colour or status. As a matter of fact in giving we receive much more(Lk 6:38),and from the verse above we can clearly see this requirement by God is heavy laden with a promise of blessings if we obey,also not forgetting that whoever feeds the poor lends to God( Proverbs 19:17), who in due time Him being a faithful God will visit His blessings upon the giver, our Lord Jesus Christ taught about this subject via the parable of Sheep and Goats : “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:34-36)
To illustrate this further lets learn from the story of Cornelius, He was a centurion of the Italian Regiment, He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision.He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”Acts 10:1-4,47), Despite the fact that Cornelius was a senior military officer in the Roman army he was a devout God fearing believer who not only prayed to God regularly but was also compassionate to the poor in his locale,this was not a common thing especially from the Roman officers who were generally considered to be hard-hearted,what a challenge to us the current believers who have a greater chance of learning and carrying out great acts of mercy and charity. In his vision he receives a confirmation from God of reception and effects(blessings) of his prayers and gifts to the poor,which had come up to God as a memorial offering,what a great accomplishment and honour to have a memorial offering between us and Almighty God,in a nutshell this means any time God looked at the offerings (both gifts and prayers) He remembered Cornelius (not that He forgets; God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown…(Heb 6:10) , what more or greater can any believer ask for above this,God had heard and granted his prayers(Act 10:30-31) because He is a God who accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right(Acts 10:35) .God sent salvation and Holy Spirit to Cornelius’ household and all the other people who had come to hear the good news(Acts 10:44-48),what a good lesson to us that our good God-fearing deeds can be a lesson to lead many to salvation ,all for God’s glory. Furthermore we can’t forget what James taught us to be pure and faultless religion;that is looking after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world(James 1:27).It is also worthy noting that in Job’s final defence he states that he very well played his part in defending the interest of the poor(Job 29:11-17) ,Similarly we can’t forget how Hezekiah prayed when he received the grim news of his forthcoming demise(Isaiah 38:1-8),which now begs the question:In a moment of intense need like this Job or Hezekiah was in,can we have deeds of love,mercy or justice done by us to refer to?. We should also not forget it is not by works we are saved(Ephesians 2:8-9,Rom 11:6) but by grace of God, to put this in perspective, if we eliminate the love and obedience to God from our works,its all in vain,it won’t be credited to us to having served or obeyed God in any way(1 Cor 13:1-3),but also we shouldn’t forget that faith without actions is dead ” If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-16),hence dear believers all our works of faith,love,mercy,charity etc should be enshrined in love and obedience to God and as Paul says ,they will become a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God(Phil 4:15-20) ,He is the God who says obedience is better than sacrifice and disobedience is worse than divination(1 Samuel 15:22-24) and if you love me keep my commands(John 14:15).The subject of the poor ,unfortunate people in the world is very dear to God,very close to His merciful heart,actually He says He is their father(Psalm 68:5-6) and definitely if we are kind and considerate to His children,definitely He shall be very happy with us, and that is why He sent,inspired many of His messengers to teach us about it.It is deeply entrenched in the scriptures,many are verses talking about it,for more wisdom you can refer( http://www.righthaand.com/the-father-of-fatherless/ ).We can not arm twist God into blessing us but when we freely in love and obedience give to the unfortunate,God will liberally bless us,hence we should enthusiastically be cheerful givers of this tithe of love,it goes a long way touching someone’s life and in honoring God.
To love God is to obey.
Above all the blessings which come with this giving,won’t it be a greater joy to us to know that we honored God and put a smile on someone’s else lips.