When things are going well, it’s very easy to push God to the side. We’re celebrating the moment, enjoying the success or the happiness and He just tends to slip from our minds. In actuality, the reason that happens is because He wasn’t first and foremost in our minds, we were. Also, when we are at that point, we’ve forgotten some other folks, too. For instance:
“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, then you shall say before the LORD your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. I have not eaten of the tithe while I was mourning, or removed any of it while I was unclean, or offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the LORD my God. I have done according to all that you have commanded me. Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel and the ground that you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ – Deuteronomy 26:12-15, ESV
One of the interesting parts of this passage is that the tithe in the third year wasn’t paid to the temple directly. Rather, it was used to take care of those who needed it: Levites (who had no inheritance), travelers, those whose fathers had died (and therefore were left without their primary method of support) and widows (again, without their primary means of support). God was saying to give the tithe in remembrance of Him, but to make sure it got to the folks who needed it. Why was this important? God was basically establishing a cause and effect relationship: do what I ask in remembering Me and taking care of those around you and I will take care of you.
There’s more to it than that, though. Notice what God expected the Israelites to say as they offered that tithe. For them to say those things truthfully, they had to do them. Seems like a lot of requirements, right? Not really, and that’s not really the point. We know that the offering isn’t what is important, but rather, the heart. And that’s what God was getting at here. He’s saying, “Don’t just offer Me leftovers. Rather, be mindful of your worship. I’m the One who has blessed you. Don’t take this blessing or Me for granted.”
That makes me think long and hard about how I respond when I recognize a blessing of God in my life. Do I approach my thankfulness towards Him in a reverent manner? Am I really appreciative, like I should be? Do I seek to consider how my blessing might benefit others? These are really the things God is after here. These are the things we should be mindful of. This sort of thinking shouldn’t just be for the big things, either. It should be for every blessing we receive and enjoy. The small things count, too. For instance, when my little girl smiles and gets excited at the opportunity to feed our goldfish, that’s a blessing. It won’t change world politics, but a child’s delight certainly is something to be thankful for. Am I mindful of God for that small blessing? Too often I think the answer is, “No.” I miss the moment to silently pray and thank God for that moment of time, for that display of pure joy that I’ve experienced. It’s something that I’ve resolved to work on.
What about you? How are you at worshipping God in the good times? Is He first in your mind? Are you taking the time to reverently thank Him and offer Him praise for the blessing? Are you looking to extend that blessing to others? Remember Him in the good times, for He is worthy of all worship, honor, and praise.