Every week we pass the offering plate without thinking much about why we do so. Likewise, in a country where we spend so much time talking about money, we often forget that God has laid a claim on the entirety of our lives. How might God’s claim on our whole lives affect how we notice and share our gifts with God and others? What would it be like to promise to give a little bit of our whole lives to this world that God so loves? How would that change how we view money? How would that change how we view our neighbor? In this study we examined Deuteronomy 14 and the command to tithe one’s grain, wine and oil. We learned about the ancient world and what kind of living and generosity are implied by this command, and spent time transposing that command to our own life in community today. Through eating, drinking and learning about the food and resources in the ancient world and in our own community, we came to a more holistic understanding of God’s claim on our life.
Marissa Becklin presented “Give Unto the Lord: A Study About Food and Tithing in Deuteronomy 14” at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago on October 19, 2018, as part of the Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge (HFBFC), a project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). At the time, Becklin was a student at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; she conducted her project on internship at Christ the Servant Church, Waukesha, Wis.
Each year, as part of the HFBFC, one student from each seminary of the ELCA is challenged to create an innovative project that invites people to open Scripture and join the conversation. The 2018 challenge, focused on fostering a learning community that is an open table, brought together those steeped in biblical texts, themes and images as well as those unfamiliar with them. The students collaborate with pastors, leaders and congregation members to learn together, and then present their learnings at a culminating event. A panel of theologians, denominational leaders and pastors—as well as the audience—responds to each presentation.