By Reverend David Whitney
February 14, 2016
One of the ugliest fallen human traits is greed. Leo Tolstoy once wrote a story about a successful peasant farmer who was not satisfied with his lot. “He wanted more of everything. One day he received a novel offer. For 1000 rubles, he could buy all the land he could walk around in a day. The only catch in the deal was that he had to be back at his starting point by sundown. Early the next morning he started out walking at a fast pace. By midday he was very tired, but he kept going, covering more and more ground. Well into the afternoon he realized that his greed had taken him far from the starting point.
He quickened his pace and as the sun began to sink low in the sky, he began to run, knowing that if he did not make it back by sundown the opportunity to become an even bigger landholder would be lost. As the sun began to sink below the horizon he came within sight of the finish line. Gasping for breath, his heart pounding, he called upon every bit of strength left in his body and staggered across the line just before the sun disappeared. He immediately collapsed, blood streaming from his mouth. In a few minutes he was dead. Afterwards, his servants dug a grave. It was not much over six feet long and three feet wide.”
It’s curious to me that we only criticize greed when it manifests on the personal level. Can’t we see what is right before our eyes in America; we have a civil government drunk on greed. It never has enough, not enough of our hard earned money, not enough of our possession, and not enough of our land. 640 million acres illegally and unconstitutionally held by the Federal government is not enough, they want to steal all the land. That’s what the ranchers out west are facing.
Ammon Bundy writing from prison this week explaining the problem of the Federal land grab and how they were teaching people to stand against it said, “On Friday afternoon, the 30th, (4 days after they were arrested and the government murdered LaVoy Finicum) residents surrounding Jordan Valley, Oregon, had scheduled a seminar with those at the refuge to come out and inform them of how they can protect themselves from a national monument that is to be signed in by President Obama this year, 2016. This monument is twice the size of Yellowstone, takes up a third of the county's land mass, and will put over 250 ranchers out of business as they know it.”
The limits to the greed of our Federal Government seem to know no bounds. A people who will not be ruled by God's law will suffer under tyrants, and by the way an excellent study of every passage in the Bible on taxation by Robert Fugate, concludes that God’s design for the Hebrew Republic was a very small tax that even the poorest could pay. That civil government was therefore also very small and did not regulated, control, spy on, manipulate, steal and murder the people to whom God gave the land of Israel. Oh to God for such a government today. Well what does the law of God say about giving? Turn to Exodus 22:29
The Command to give without delay - Exodus 22:29-30 “Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.” God’s command is that it be without delay.
The First Fruit - Deuteronomy 26:9-10 “And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God.”
The reason for the first fruit is that it took faith to do that. As a farmer you know you are not guaranteed the harvest until it is all in. It took faith to give God the first fruits.
A missionary had been teaching tithing to his church. One morning a young Christian came to the missionary’s door with a fishing pole in one hand and a fish in the other hand. He said, “Here’s my tithe.”
The missionary asked him where the rest of his fish were and the man replied, “Oh, they’re in the river, I just wanted to bring God His first.”
It demonstrates trust in God to provide.